Saturday, April 26, 2008

La Guerre du feu (1981) AKA Quest for Fire

Quest for Fire is so detailed in its depiction of prehistoric man that it might have been made by time-traveling filmmakers. Instead it's a bold and timeless experiment by visionary director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear), inviting scientific debate while presenting a fascinating, imaginary glimpse of humankind some 80,000 years ago. Using diverse locations in Kenya, Scotland, and Canada, Annaud tells the purely visual story of five tribes (some more advanced than others) who depend on fire for survival. They "steal" fire from nature, but the actual creation of fire remains elusive, lending profound mystery and majesty to the film's climactic, real-time display of fire-making ingenuity. Employing primitive language created by novelist Anthony Burgess and body language choreographed by anthropologist Desmond Morris, a unique ensemble of actors push the envelope of their profession, succeeding where they easily could've failed. They're carnal, violent, funny, curious, and intelligent; through them, and through the eons, we can recognize ourselves. --Jeff Shannon

The authenticity of the "language" in this film comes from the work of authors Anthony Burgess ("A Clockwork Orange") who created the spoken languages and Desmond Morris ("The Naked Ape") who worked on the body language and gestures.

Along the way, the three knights-errant encounter the usual animal and human hazards, including a group of cannibals. From the latter they rescue a damsel in distress, a member of a distant plains-dwelling tribe captured to be eaten. The rescuers take her back to her people, who, lo and behold, know how to create fire from scratch.

Torrent: here (mkv format)

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