Jan 29, 2012

Moon Child



I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that Spanish auteur Agustí Villaronga (In a Glass Cage aka Tras el cristal, Black Bread aka Pa negre) is the most proficient director of bleak coming-of-age films. Out of all of Villaronga’s films, Moon Child (1989) aka El niño de la luna – an exotic and sometimes erotic esoteric Adventure-Fantasy work worthy of any adult’s time – is easily the Spanish filmmaker’s most optimistic effort, yet the film is far from an feel-good-flick that one would watch with the entire family, let alone with small children. In the film, a 12-year old orphan boy named David discovers the prophecy of an ancient African tribe that foretells the random appearance of a white child (the “moon child”) that will become their god: The Son of the Moon. Overtime, David begins to believe that he is, indeed, the soon-to-be-all-powerful Moon Child. Due to his budding extrasensory perception, David is adopted by an odd Occult institution with unsavory intentions that is sort of like a dystopian X-men academy, that experiments and does research on idiosyncratic Übermensch children. Unfortunately, for God-in-the-making David, the academy has plans to make their own Moon Child by channeling the energy of the moon into an unborn child. To an extent, the plans of the occult group somewhat resembles that of the conspiring white magicians featured in British alpha-occultist Aleister Crowley’s novel Moonchild (1917). During his dangerous journey, David befriends a blonde girl named Georgina (played by Lisa Gerrard of the ethereal neoclassical music group Dead Can Dance in her only acting role) who becomes a mother figure for the boy and whose slender body becomes a vessel for the evil occult group's man-made Moon Child.  Davey also fancies an older woman with split loyalties named Victoria who struggles over her allegiances to the all-power Occult organization she is an unflinching member of and the lost boy that needs her love. On his precarious journey, David encounters everything from institutional lunar sex (featuring Lisa Gerrard totally nude) to the totally devastating and debilitating heat of African deserts. Needless to say, David and his struggles make that of the children in The Goonies (1985) seem like those of young peons on a slightly perturbing playdate.




Like Villaronga’s previous film In a Glass Cage (1987), Moon Child is an aesthetically-splendid work that, despite its stark story, brings solace to the eyes and harmony to the ears. For fans of Dead Can Dance, Moon Child is also quite the rare treat as the ineffable score composed by the music duo was done specifically for the film, thus, the only way to hear it is by watching this unfortunately scarce and mostly magical motion picture. Moon Child is certainly the best and most fitting marriage between avant-garde filmmaker and musical group since the collaboration between Derek Jarman and post-industrial group Coil for The Angelic Conversation (1985). Like the music of Dead Can Dance, Moon Child transports the viewer to various mysterious and nonexistent thaumaturgic lands and sparks emotions that range from delightful dread to indescribable splendor. Thankfully, the storyline of Moon Child is for the most part in tune with the aesthetic qualities of the film. Although, the plot of Moon Child may seem rather incoherent at times, this seemingly glaring flaw inevitably adds to the already persuasive mystique and intrigue of the film.  Needless to say, Moon Child becomes more potent upon subsequent viewings. If any cinematic work manages to mix thematic and aesthetic elements of Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout (1971) and The Witches (1990) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Moon Child is surely that seemingly unreal and otherworldly film. All of the actors featured in Moon Child, including the one who played David, also deserve praise for their talents. I must admit that I find most child actors nothing short of deplorable and ultimately unbelievable, but Enrique Saldana (the boy who plays David) is certainly convincing as a daunted yet daring child who is totally devoted to fulfilling a metaphysical mission that he has trouble verbally articulating. Despite her lack of acting experience, lovely Lisa Gerrard – who is indubitably a modern Renaissance woman – brings a strong performance to Moon Child that is an imperative to the believability of the film. In what is probably the most memorable scene in the film, Ms. Gerrard goes from being in a state of bewilderment as she lays naked on a cold, sterile metal ritual bed; to a mood of total ecstasy as she makes love with her seedman; to a position of total terror as a couple occult members takeaway her lover and surgically pick at her freshly soiled vagina in a most crude and calculating quasi-scientific fashion. 




John Waters’ once remarked regarding Villaronga’s In a Glass Cage, “(it) is a great film, but I'm too scared to show it to my friends.” Moon Child is not a film one should fear showing to one's friends, but it most certainly has the capacity to stupefy both small children and Quention Tarantino fans alike. If you’re one of those many individuals who found themselves slightly disturbed by films like Wolfgang Peterson’s The NeverEnding Story (1984) and Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth (1986) as a young and naive child, Moon Child is probably one of a handful of films that can potentially help you recapture those youthful emotions of partially petrified nostalgia.   Like In a Glass Cage, Moon Child is a film that neglects to follow the gospel of the Hollywood studio system, as it is a work that is certainly not cognizant of the taboos of political correctness.  I am sure that had Moon Child been produced within the strict, authoritarian socio-political confines of a typical Hollywood studio production, the Moon Child would have been a starving and saintly Ethiopian boy who is on a journey to central Europe (with the help of a good liberal white couple, nonetheless) to fulfill an ancient Germanic prophecy for peaceful world unity.  Politically incorrect or not, Moon Child is certainly a rare work of 'World-Class Cinema', as the film manages to swimmingly cross both cultural and country barriers (whether they be real or not as none of the locations, aside from the continents, are mentioned in the film).  Of course, most important of all, Moon Child is a flavorsome flick that manages to activate the imagination of the most bitter, skeptical, and misanthropic of viewers (myself included), and for that reason alone, it is a must-see film.


-Ty E

5 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Lisa Gerrard (as the bird was in 1979 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

You know that song that George Burns used to sing when he was 100,: "Oh, i wish i was 18 again", well i was thinking, wouldn`t it have been hilarious if the words had instead been: "Oh, i wish i was a chicken-shit mother-fucker again" ! ! !...ha..ha..ha.., you see, you have to actually imagine George Burns singing those words then it really is truly hilarious believe me.

peregrine fforbes-hamilton said...

Just with regards to "The Neverending Story": i want to bugger Tami Stronach (the child-like Empress), as the gorgeous little darlin` was at the time that film was made, not as the bird is now obviously. In that movie Tami was arguably the most stunningly beautiful vision of loveliness that has ever graced any film in the entire history of cinema.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just with regards to "Labyrinth": I want to bugger Jennifer Connelly (as the bird was in 1988 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I just watched the edited version of "Thundercrack" on Youtube and if it hadn`t been for all the pansy queer bull-shit it would`ve been the perfect "cult-movie", as i was watching it i was thinking what a truly great film it would`ve been if all the characters in the movie had been naked 18 year-old chicks and all the sexual activity depicted had been "lesbian anal" ! ! !. Dirty faggots, they always ruin everything (especially potentially great cult-movies).