In “Themroc”, Claude Faraldo’s 1973 French movie, a worker, made desperate by the repetitive & inane strictures of his life at home and at work, goes batshit crazy. His anarchistic dismissal of all societal circumscription & values, his reversion to a caveman/animal, leads to demolition, incest, cannibalism, murder & some other weird stuff. You can watch a lot of “out there” movies but as a political & cinematic experiment & statement nothing can prepare you for “Themroc”
The film has no production values to speak of, filmed with shaky, unfocussed hand-held cameras. There is no dialogue, only grunts & gibberish. What it does have is an anger, an energy, a logic & a black humour which makes it an unforgettable experience. At the heart of the film is Michel Piccoli, a heavyweight performer in 3 Bunuel movies & in Marco Ferrari’s “La Grande Bouffe”. Here he is a bear, a lion, a savage who’s rejection of all he has been taught to accept is visceral rather than of the intellect. In “Themroc” anarchy goes beyond ideology. The film will make you laugh, it will make you flinch & it will make you think.
I saw “Themroc” on its release in the UK & again on a rare cinema showing. I even caught Faraldo’s earlier film “Bof” (1971) at a very rare screening. Then 5 years ago, in a bargain shop in my little town, among the undesirable, discounted whatnots, I bought, incredibly, a video copy of “Themroc” for just one of our English pounds ! I showed the film to anyone with an interest in the more outlandish side of cinema & then, with some irony, the in-built technological obsolescence of capitalism made the video a thing of the past. So it goes…”Themroc” is on the Y-tube, it is a blast, it is a challenge but I’m glad it is there. It would be glib of me to claim that it makes Godard look like a pussycat & Bunuel seem traditional but it is a unique film.