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  Themroc Work, Rest And Play
Year: 1972
Director: Claude Faraldo
Stars: Michel Piccoli, Béatrice Romand, Marilu Toto, Francesca Romana Coluzzi, Jeanne Herviale, Miou-Miou, Patrick Dewaere
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Themroc (Michel Piccoli) goes to work one morning, the same as every morning, but there's a difference this time - as the day draws on, Themroc realises he's had enough of the same old routine. While up a ladder to paint the outside of an office block, he ogles the secretary being dictated to by his boss, then his boss catches him and calls him into his office. This causes Themroc to snap, and he walks out with plans to send himself back to the stone age...

This bizarre comedy with a political agenda was scripted by the director, Claude Faraldo and became briefly notorious in the United Kingdom as the first film Channel 4 broadcast in their Red Triangle season, cinema considered extreme and therefore shown with the warning triangle in the corner of the screen. None of the cast speak in any language, they shout and babble instead, and society is depicted as dehumanising, monotonous and overbearing. Themroc starts his day by having flashbacks to his mother and sister, who he shares a dingy flat with, and, surrounded by the blank faces of his fellow commuters, the pressure of the daily grind gets too much for him.

His job is dull and unrewarding, and we see him in the locker room with his fellow workers, who are divided into two rival groups, depending on which colour of overall they wear. All these painters are sent to paint a fence, one side black and the other side white, while Themroc goes to see the boss. Now his emotions are becoming too much to handle, and his sexual and social frustrations causing coughing fits and the odd roar.

When he gets home, he sets about sealing himself into his bedroom and smashing down the outside wall to create a cave. His anarchy is catching - soon his neighbours from across the street are doing the same and it's not long before the media and the police are taking an interest. Because he is breaking the rules of society, the authorities must find a way of containing Themroc before he starts a trend - his antisocial behaviour is surprisingly attractive to the ordinary people around the city.

He doesn't stop with acting like a caveman, either - by the end of the film he has committed incest with his sister and killed, cooked and eaten a policeman, too. Of course, by this stage the film has nothing left to say and nowhere to go. It has laboured its points about workers under the heels of the authorities and bosses, and the liberation in breaking the rules of society, but it's undeniable that in Piccoli's physical performance there's a lot of satisfaction to be had in seeing him grunt and howl as a reaction to his deadening life. He keeps you watching, and if you've ever had the urge to bark at people out of sheer frustration, then this film comes recommended.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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