The Wild Boys

February 13, 6:30 pm — Taylor Hall 203

The Wild Boys / 2017 / Bertrand Mandico / 110 min

Introduction: Theo Mantion (French, Vassar College)

Respondent: William Dwyer ’20 (Vassar College)

One of the boldest aesthetic statements in recent French cinema, Wild Boys is a gender-bending, influence-scrambling adventure tale about five teenage miscreants sent on a boat journey with a mysterious Dutch captain who has promised to bring them back to their parents as obedient boys—or not at all. What the Captain hasn’t mentioned is that his innovative therapy relies on a visit to an island where the earth opens up to envelop humans in its warm grasp, where trees reach out to kiss or kill you, and where males transform into females. Boldly going against the prevailing winds of naturalist cinema, self-described queer filmmaker Bertrand Mandico cast five of France’s most talented young actresses to play the boys and immersed them in a seamless blend of luxuriant island locations and unabashedly artificial sets, creating a manifesto for narrative and aesthetic freedom in which a slew of influences (Joseph Von Sternberg, R.L. Stevenson, Jean Genet, Raúl Ruiz, Kenneth Anger) add up to a film unlike anything we’ve seen before. Shot on gorgeous 35 mm black and white film with occasional bursts of dazzling color, Wild Boys is a potent reminder that the radical power of art begins in the formal gesture.


This Tournées Film Festival is made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), the French American Cultural Fund, Florence Gould Foundation and Highbrow Entertainment.

The festival is cosponsored by the Department of Film, the Women’s Studies Program, the Dean of Faculty and the VSA French Club.