Leo was born in Borneo, in the orangutan orphanage founded by his father. It is the only place he has ever known. He is 25 when his father dies and the Indonesians take over the orphanage. Leo feels like an outcast. He boards a freighter, bound for a “civilization” he knows nothing about, as his father taught him only music and poetry. He is neither a Tarzan nor a wild child, but a young guy with a pure, idealistic vision of the world. He arrives in France and meets a range of characters who embody the shortcomings of today’s society.
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Patrick Schulmann has things to tell us: about ‘everyday delinquency, homelessness, the rise of the National Front, the rat race, workplace rivalry, the debasement of art...’ The list in the press kit goes on, sounding a little like a recipe for a stodgy pot-pourri of discontent. But the film works like a charm. Sagamore Stevenin (son of actor Jean-François) plays Leo deadpan with a deeply likable, straight-faced naiveté and we happily go along with him. Eager to please but not gutless, Schulmann’s movie has a generous profusion of plots and a fertile imagination that are a joy to behold, while its ‘noble savage’ message and slap-happy putdown of modern society provide fuel for plenty of post-film debate. (“Libération”, December 16th 1998)