Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 3. 4th April, 1957
A Great Adventure
A Great Adventure
For those who had forgotten that the cinema is an art form, for those who have been morbidly overfascinated by the darker, pessimistic tradition of Western thought, the film "The Great Adventure" (released by Films de France) opens or re-opens the "grand vistas" of childhood.
This film won the International Grand Prix at the Cannes 1955 Festival; it is an aesthetic masterpiece. Like all true art, it deals with no set theme, it labours no message, draws no eternally valid conclusions from the contradictions which it portrays. There is birth—and also death: but (and most important) there is also rebirth—and the film deflects the philosophy of those who do not know what the blood and sweat and tragedy of life—animal as well as human—mean, if not humility and the difficult law of love. Aibert Schweitzer argues for a new new ethic, based on the absolute reverence for life: and although his arguments seem somewhat absurd, one is inclined to sympathize more with his views after seeing this film.
The producers; they revel in the natural delights which their cameras capture.
The makers of the film have concentrated upon the innocence of childhood but not only men innocence the film presents Life.
It would not be worth seeing if it did not present contradiction, tears mixed with laughter, death in the roidst of life, poverty and starvation in the midst of abundance, rebirth and courage with the destructive blast of the shotgun and the dynamite. Even the loss of the otter, the [unclear: bettayal] by the children, are real, and therefore fit subjects for the artist. A medieval saint describes the "human condition" as at one and the same time "an agony and torment and a garden of Paradise", and, even with a cultural aversion for anthropomorphisms, this film presents this truth anew.
"No dream can be held a captive for long, no matter how kindly the keeper", and from all of the contradictory themes which are presented, one of the most persistent is that of courage; possibly the vulnerability of the human organism, but also the "religious sentiments" of faith, courage, hope and humility.