80000 years ago and man has discovered fire, but not how to
make it. When a Neanderthal tribe is attacked they loose their
only source of fire. Without the knowledge to create it the
tribe will die. So begins a quest to either find a new source
of the secret of creating fire...
for Fire (La Guerre du Feu, 1981) is an overlooked
little classic directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, who also directed
Enemy at the Gates (2001) and Seven Years in Tibet
(1997) and was a multi award winning film gaining both an
Oscar and a Bafta as well as a further nine awards and seven
film has no dialogue as such, though the tribe does use a
vocabulary of over three hundred words designed by Anthony
Burgess, writer of A Clockwork Orange, though without
subtitles it is only possible to guess what the words mean
by either the speakers actions or the reaction that they get.
It's an interesting concept and demonstrates the lengths that
Annaud would go to, to achieve what he saw as authenticity.
It is an audacious project, which given its originality, I'm
surprised that he was able to get the finance together, but
given the result I for one am glad he did.
Beneath the prosthetics there are some excellent actors lurking,
first and foremost is Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Alien Resurrection)
in his first major role. Everett McGill (Dune, Twin Peaks)
also lurks under the makeup, as does Rae Dawn Chong (The
Colour Purple). To be honest they do a very good job of
drawing the audience into their world, especially as they
are hamstrung from the outset without the use of a recognisable
language. And draw you in they do, as the tribe travels across
a potentially lethal landscape, discovering along the way
both friend and foe, but more importantly the genesis of the
human race, this is particularly demonstrated with their use
such an overlooked film the DVD comes with some impressive
extras. Not only do you get a full length commentary by Annaud
but there is a second one from Ron Perlman, Rae Dawn Chong
and Michael Gruskoff, the Executive Producer. You get an interview
with the director and a making of feature as well as video
gallery with audio commentary from Annaud which consists of
fifteen short features which cover just above every aspect
of the films making.
picture is presented in a very nice anamorphic print with
a 5.1 audio track.
it's a lost little classic, with great extras, which would
be an asset to any serious collectors DVD library.