Samuel: September 2006 Archives

L'enfant Sauvage


I firs saw this film some years ago as a field trip from French class. It was shown subtitled, but I remember being amazed how much of the French I could understand. And it struck me once again as surprising.

Samuel had wanted to see this film when he saw it at the library, and as there is no harm in it and it is one of the two Truffaut films I know I like, we brought it home. Samuel loved it. He learned two or three words of french and was thrilled. For one, he learn "L'enfant sauvage" and thinks that is much cooler than wild child and asked that he be called "L'enfant sauvage" rather than wild child from now on. (Of course he hasn't heard the Troggs yet, so there's a chance he'll change his mind.) Sam also learned the words for milk and water, two words they try to teach Victor in the course of the film.

The story is based on a supposedly true story of a child captured in the Averoyne woods in 1798. He had been abandoned early in his childhood. His parents had attempted to kill him but failed and the child is thought to have fended for himself from the age of 3 to the age of 10 or 12 when he was captured. The story centers around the efforts of a scientist to help this child rejoin civilization (if that is how one refers to France in 1798).

Filmed in black and white, the boy in the film gives an absolutely believable and remarkable performance as the child brought in from the wood. Truffaut himself (I think) plays the Doctor who is is helper and attempts to bring not just a veneer of civilization but a sense of a moral being into one raised wild. It has the odd misunderstanding of the enlightenment about the nature of humanity, but the film is still solid, if not beautiful.

For those with wild children, this film may have some appeal. For those who have experienced one or more l'enfants sauvages you'll already know what it's about. Think the terrible twos about ten years later. For those becoming acquainted with or reacquainted with French, it's a good film to see.

Overall, recommended--a good story, a good film, and relatively short--about 85 minutes.

(Oh, and for those of you too polite to ask--no, it's never too early to infect your children with the "watching-obscure-foreign-films" virus. In fact as we were looking at the films, Samuel asked "What does foe rain mean?" "Films produced in other countries." "Do they speak English?" "Well, if their from England, Australia, or South Africa they might." "Let's get one where they don't. Let's get one in Japanese." But he settled on L'enfant Sauvage.)

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After his success last year as "Little Boy Blue" (ballet) and "Snoopy" (tap), Samuel changed his mind about the dance classes he would take this year. We thought we were going to be down to tap. However, he decided that he wanted to continue on to jazz, which meant he had to continue ballet, he also wanted to do tap and we added acro. The net sum of this is that we cart around a bag with four different kinds of shoes to two different venues on three different nights of the week. One lass each Monday and Tuesday and two classes on Wednesday.

Last year, I simply foisted most of this off on Linda allowing her the home-school mom privilege of this extended education. But with his decision to continue, I felt that he needed his Dad's presence and support through these classes. I want him to know that if he is committed to doing it, I'm 100% behind him. So each night I spend 1-1 1/2 hours watching him as he goes through his steps. The good side of this is that I can now help him with parts of the routines that need practice. The single downside, you may have noticed, is that there is less time for blogging.

But there's another upside. Because most of a dance class consists of waiting for you turn, there is plenty of time for the observing parent with his pocket keyboard and PDA to write or record and consider old writing and transform it into new. Of recent date, I've been typing in older poetry--poetry from 1980, at present. And I have to admit to being occasionally astounded by a line or two the gleams out from the mass of rubbish that surrounds it. There is some good poetry hidden under the pretension of youth, just waiting to be dug out.

It also puts me in mind of my real strengths as a poet--and as you may have noted by now, they don't consist of "message" poetry. Where the poetry really speaks to me is where it approaches imagist in its detail and its message is ambiguous and open. That's pretty much how I live life--one large rolling and shifting mass of ambiguity. I'd like to feel bad about that, but I can't because it has served me well thus far.

Anyway. for those who have noted a shortage of content, just be aware that I have about six-to-eight hours less a week to visit with y'all. Which doesn't mean I won't visit, just that the visits will be shorter and more intense as they come.

In the meantime, please pray for Samuel's continued success. The other day at Mass we read the petitions. We received the petitions on Sunday morning, the two of us read them. After he read, I pointed out some of the finer points of punctuation and grammar and told him how to deal with them in reading. We practiced again, and he did a little better and I was satisfied. However, when we got to Mass that evening, he did his reading and we aren't talking "a little better" here, we're talking leaps and bounds--pure, clear, slow, smooth, a better reader than many of our adults. (And I am not one to give idle praise, even though I will give lot's of encouragement.) This is one of those moment when you realize that Samuel needs his audience. It is in front of an audience that he excels. The audience fires him up and gets him ready to go. And as the surfers say, he is stoked. He came back from the readings and he knew that he had hit it square on the head.

The other day Linda called me and said that while Samuel was taking one of his several "imagination breaks" in the course of the day, she heard him singing. She said that she thought it sounded familiar, and given that the usual "imagination break" consists of running around making jet or swooshing sounds, this was unusual. She went away and came back laughing and said that he was singing the Priest's part at Mass. (He's recently begun to take classes to be an alter-server.) So our present Pope may play piano and enjoy classical music, but watch out world as we unleashed the first Jazz-balletic-pianist-tapper Pope!

Prayers for Samuel's continued growth and dedication to God's purposes would be greatly appreciated.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Samuel category from September 2006.

Samuel: June 2006 is the previous archive.

Samuel: October 2006 is the next archive.

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