Black Moon (1975)

BLACK MOON (1975)
Article 4930 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-17-2015
Directed by Louis Malle
Featuring Cathryn Harrison, Therese Giehse, Alexandra Stewart
Country: France / West Germany
What it is: Fantasy allegory

In escaping a literal war of the sexes, a young woman seeks refuge in a farmhouse and finds a very strange world.

The tagline for this movie was “An Apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland”, and that’s probably as good a place as any to start with this one. We’re in avant garde/art film territory here, and if there’s any linear sense to be made of it, it’s well-hidden. However, if you think about it, “Alice in Wonderland” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either, and if there’s one thing I do get out of this movie, it’s that Louis Malle did have a sense of the magical logic of that work, and he manages to capture it here. There are certain scenes here that recall specific moments in the Alice books; for example, when our heroine picks up the elderly woman and cradles her, it reminded me of the scene where the duchess leaves Alice in charge of a baby who then turns into a pig. The heroine’s search for a unicorn is a central theme, and I suspect that one of the central lessons here is that the unicorn won’t accept her until she accepts the other aspects of the world in which the unicorn dwells. All the characters who have names share the same name with the exception of the rat with whom the old lady chats (actually a wallaby). Snakes pop up as a recurring visual motif, as well as does a score of naked children running with a pig. I have no idea what the title means. Nevertheless, this is one of those avant-garde films that works for me, and I’ll probably give it another viewing some time. Just don’t expect an explanation.

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