Jean Cocteau meets David Lynch with a good dash of Colette in Bertrand Mandico's sensationally trippy 2018 release, The Wild Boys (Les Garçons Sauvage). Or if you must, just imagine Melville if he'd been a feminist on acid. Billy Budd times five.
Yes, here's a tale of a close-knit gang of well-to-do lads, who get carried away enacting a scene from Macbeth for their beloved literature teacher, a Ms. Lorna Debougainville, in a lush field. Wearing unnerving masks and egged on by an evil spiritual force named TREVOR, the teens ravish and ejaculate on their instructor before tying her nude, gagged body onto a horse, which gallops into a chasm, fatally ending Ms. Lorna’s future expounding on the classics.
Before you start running for the hills, thinking this is a Lars von Triers offering a la The House That Jack Built, please note that the young men here are all played by young women, but this is not a drag show. If I hadn't been forewarned, you might not have guessed at the masquerade at all. Or you might have just sensed something was a little off. Or on.
Well, to sidestep prison sentences for defiling the aforementioned damsel and administering her coup de grace, the boys are handed over to the eerie Captain by their parents. This grizzled ancient mariner, with his huge penis that’s tattooed with islands where he’s made some sexual conquests, promises to rid all of his charges of their antisocial behaviors. However, he can’t promise any will survive the sea journey he’s taking them on. That seems an acceptable risk for the lads’ moms and pops.
Once afloat, the boys are roped and chained and forced to do chores that only the fittest of sailors could accomplish with a smile. Their only food is a hairy fruit that the more brazen among us might note seems very vaginal.
After days of sadistic treatment and a dog drowning, the ship lands on an unknown island that smells like an oyster and is populated with plants that you can fornicate with. Other flora, when their phallic tubes are snipped, pulse out a delicious nectar. And there’s even one that will cover you with a cocoon-like stickiness that you can only escape by urinating on it, but then … Oh, no! Can it be true? No, please, not that. You might find yourself turning into a female who enjoys the company of other females.
For those of you unfamiliar with Charles Ludlam's hilarious 1970's off-Broadway hit, Bluebeard, there's a scene in which the mad scientist, while seeking to create a third, more satisfying sex organ, exclaims, "I will never cease in my experimenting. My dream is to remake Man. A new man with new possibilities for love."
In The Wild Boys, the goal is to rid the world of men and their penchant for war and violence one cock at a time through the eating of the aforementioned hairy fruit and the swallowing of other dietary aids. And when one character's groin falls to the ground, he is asked: "What will you do with your dick?"
"What should I do with it? Bury it with dignity . . . ."
So ends one of the most beautiful celluloid offerings of last year that is only now available on Amazon Prime and Vimeo.