L’Εחfaחt Saυνage


“L’Εחfaחt Saυνage” (1970) avec Jean-Pierre Cargol. Βased οn a real life case, recοrded in Jean-Μarc Gaspard Ιtard’s “Μemοire et Rappοrt sυr Victοr de L’Ανeyrοn, The WiΙd ChiΙd” (1806). Françοis Trυffaυt himseΙf plays Dr. Jean Ιtard.

«Doctor, I know he doesn’t understand us, but can he hear us?

He hears us but he doesn’t listen, just as he sees without looking.

We’ll teach him to look and to listen. (…)

In the village, I’ve seen him turn around when a nut was cracked behind him.

Write this: “Indifferent to loud noises whereas he turns around when a nut is cracked behind him. (…)

“He often turns when someone speaks behind him.

Oh!

As if he placed the sound. Especially the sound “O”. (…) We have agreed to exercise his attentiveness to the sound of “O”. (…)

I must awaken his hearing, which is understandably dull. Before, his ears served only to alert him to falling fruit or the approach of a dangerous animal.»

«Look at him, Madame Guêrin. This morning I moved the objects.

Have you noticed, Doctor? He has a passion for order.

That proves his memory can be trained. (…)

I shouldn’t have neglected his natural inclination for order. (…)

«When he succeeds, I reward him. When he fails, I punish him. Yet I can’t say I have inspired a sense of justice in him. He obeys me and corrects himself out of fear or hope of reward and not out of a sense of moral order. To obtain less ambiguous results, I must do an abominable thing. I will test Victor’s heart with a flagrant piece of injustice by punishing him for no reason
after he succeeds right before my eyes. By putting him forcibly in the dark closet, I shall administrate punishment as odious as it is unjust precisely to see if his reaction is one of rebellion. (…) To the closet! Go, Victor! Go! Go, Victor! You’re right. You’re right to rebel. I wish that my pupil could have understood me at this moment. I would have told him that his bite filled my soul with joy. How could I rejoice half-heartedly? I had evidence that what is just and unjust was no longer alien to Victor’s heart. By provoking the sentiment, I had elevated the savage man to the stature of a moral being by the most noble of his attributes.»

I want to avoid Victor making each arrangement by memory, and I achieve this by constantly
changing the drawings around.»

«For the present his emotions appear unaffected. Despite the ill-treatment he endured
at the institute, no one ever saw him cry.
– Doctor, it’s hot enough. I couldn’t stand it.
– He can. You should’ve seen him pick up glowing embers with his fingers.
– I’m afraid he’ll melt like a piece of sugar.
– I want to soften him up. What he’ll lose in strength he’ll gain in sensitivity. (…)

– It’s the first time I’ve seen him sneeze.
– Me too.
– It must be the first time. Look how frightened he is. (…)

– What’s wrong? He’s exhausted.
– Doctor, his nose is bleeding. (…) You make him study from morning to night. You turn his only pleasure into exercises. His meals, his walks, everything. You want him to catch up
in one fell swoop. He works ten times more than a normal child. (…)

Today, for the first time, Victor wept.»

«Nothing gives him more joy than to roam in the countryside. (…) It is curious and moving to see the joy in his eyes at the sight of hills and woods. The windows barely seem wide enough for his eager gaze. (…)

Victor has always shown a marked preference for water and the way he drinks it shows he finds great pleasure in it. He stands by the window gazing upon the countryside as if in this delectable moment this child of nature sought to reunite the two blessings to survive his loss of freedom – a drink of pure water, the sight of sunlight on the countryside. (…)

For an interminable moment I thought what I’d dreaded since Victor came to live with us had happened. That his fancy for the freedom of the fields had prevailed over his newfound needs
and burgeoning affection. (…)

I can affirm to His Excellency he had full use of his senses. He furnished constant proof
of attention and memory. He could compare, discern and judge, and apply his understanding
to objects used in his instruction. This child of the woods endured the confinement of apartments and all the happy changes came about in nine months. (…)

My boy has come home all by himself!»

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