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I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse (1973)

Cast: Emmanuelle Riva, George Shannon, Hachemi Marzouk, more...
Director: Fernando Arrabal
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Studio: Cav Distribution
Genre: Cult, Foreign, France, Erotica
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Love, death, sainthood and murder figure in this French film by Spanish director Fernan Arrabal, better known for his film Viva La Muerte. Aden Rey (George Shannon) is an epileptic boy whose life has been stunted by the heavy religiosity and repressiveness of his mother (Emmanuele Riva), who has had numerous lovers. When she is found killed, the boy (who did not kill her) is the primary suspect. He flees, and goes to the desert. There, he finds a small-statured man (Hachemi Marzouk), a hermit. The hermit is very innocent, saintlike and free. Aden returns to the city with the hermit, who gets work as a circus performer until he frees the show's animals and Aden is wounded by pursuing police. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Quintessence of art? by HChang June 17, 2007 - 6:29 PM PDT
"J'irai Comme un Cheval Fou" was initially banned in France. No wonder, with its taboo images and undertones of incest, coprophagia, homosexuality, and even cannibalism (see saveyourservant's review for a list of examples). Still, I'm glad Arrabal objected when told to edit out three scenes. Instead, the novelist, playwright, and film-maker (yes, all that), suggested the entire film be burnt.

The film follows the plight of Aden Rey (American actor, George Shannon) who flees his upper-middle class home after his mother's death. We learn through a series of flashbacks, the love-hate relationship Aden had with his mother; how she both aroused and revolted him, his strict upbringing, and isolation. As Aden drives through "the desert," he comes upon a strange sight - a hermit munching sand. Marvel (Hachemi Marzouk), who's never had a visitor, welcomes and invites Aden to his home. At first distrustful, Aden soon learns Marvel is nothing but both pure and innocent. Marvel can talk to animals and call up night or day with the clap of his hands. Believing Marvel to be a virgin, and thus, cannot know happiness, Aden wants to bring happiness to his new-found friend. Albeit naively, Aden truly believes every woman would find Marvel irresistible. And so, they journey together into the city, with Teresa the goat. They leave just in time because the cops, believing Aden murdered his mother, are hot on his trail.

This film is so full of surrealistic images it is the quintessence of art. I don't claim to understand all the imageries but they certainly make me wonder what they all mean, or if they mean anything at all. Some are hyperbolic expressions of each person's thoughts. For example, while sitting at a café, Marvel asks Aden what two patrons are eating. When he learns fish and chicken were killed for food, he imagines in horror, one of the men gnawing away at a giant raw trout, while the other bites off the heads of live chicks. Arrabal himself marvels (no pun intended) at how movies can be so popular even though they are actually very personal. Indeed, to understand "I Will Walk like a Crazy Horse" better, I feel I have to learn more about Arrabal through his other works.

This DVD comes with an interview with Arrabal. I highly recommend watching this interview as it gives you some tidbits about certain imageries in the film. I'm not sure if he was joking when he said what's inside your butt is sacred (something to that effect). It is also interesting to learn how Arrabal chose his actors. He wanted Shannon to play Aden because Shannon thought he couldn't play the role. (Watch Shannon's lips closely and you'll see he's actually speaking English.)

So, some questions I have: Why does Aden want to dress up in his mother's lingerie? What's the purpose of Marvel marrying a woman he meets at a café, who turns out not to be a woman? Time to check out Viva la Muerta.

Bold and uncompromising by saveyourservant September 3, 2003 - 1:09 PM PDT
10 out of 10 members found this review helpful
Warning - I do not wish to be offensive, but i think I need to be pretty specific to prepare the casual viewer. This film contains adult subject matter to the extreme.

I have seen many things in films, but never a richly photographed penis urinating. This is a highly artistic and memorable surrealist film in the vein of Jodorowsky, but be forewarned -- Arrabal presents sincere moments of beauty and quiet sadness, and he also presents repulsive moments that had me looking away from the screen. Let's see, off the top of my head, there are depictions of incest, cannibalism, a scene which consists of a silhouette of two men defecating in unison on a hill, various images of genital torture, a child observing his mother receiving a simulated facial, a man inserting flower into the anus of a hermaphrodite (it gets worse from there), and please, please allow me to point out the unforgettable image of a mother lighting the end of her son's erect penis with a candle. I can't say that i've seen anything like this outside of the realms of pornography, and strong pornography at that.

This having been said, Arrabal effortlessly produces amazingly bizarre images and a story of transformation and alienation from society. The recluse's reactions to his first encounter with society are interesting and heartbreaking. It is a rewarding journey, if not for the feint of heart.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.57)
35 Votes
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surreal & ideal
Guarenteed to make you think, spin, laugh, or just turn off the telly in disgust of the images or pretense. Some of my favorite films. Unavailable that should be on list include: The Wild Wild World of Jane Mansfield, The Reflecting Skin, Salo.

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