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THEMROC

France, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Claude Faraldo

Michel Piccoli financed this film. which was conceived, scripted and directed by Claude Faraldo. Piccoli plays the title role of a hairy worker who freaks out at work, sleeps wish his sister and amongst other things, roasts policemen for supper.

His day begins at six o'clock with breakfast in a squalid kitchen. His mother comes in and points warningly at the clock. Then his sister appears, with her dressing gown awry, and Piccoli follows her to her bedroom where he peers at her naked body. He is disturbed by the shrilling of the cuckoo clock, and sets off for work. This is his usual start to the day: dreariness. repressed lust and unwilling obedience to the demands of industry.

At the factory, be is set to his job of painting the factory fence. He is discovered peeping through the fence at the boss and his secretary, and summoned before an obsessively pencil-sharpening official. Themroc then goes berserk, terrifying his guards. He stomps home to make love to his sister. He throws his consumer goods out of the flat and barricades himself inside.

The police and army are called in, but they cannot dislodge him. Soon, he is out hunting policemen and carrying them back to cook on a spit. Other residents join him to form a caveman commune.

With its disregard for social and artistic conventions and its invented language, Themroc has been hailed for breaking down artistic barriers. Faraldo is more pragmatic about the film. He says "I'm not really interested in film techniques or theory ... as far as the cinema's concerned, I hate perfection and I hate beauty . . . because they're intimidating for people who've never had access to culture with a capital C . . . I just thought it would be interesting to cock a snoot at language, because language is a social barrier too. Faraldo, who was himself once a factory worker, believes his film will have failed unless it inspires at least three other workers to get out of the factories.

'Themroc makes fun of all the authority figures from bosses to policemen.'

Jan Dawson, Sight and Sound

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