Wednesday, 23 June 2010

TUSK (FRANCE/1980/ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY)

Set in turn of the century India, surreal director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Tusk narrates the story of an English girl named Elise born into a rich family living in the British colony. On the day that Elise comes into the world, so too does an elephant named Tusk, and the two are to unwittingly share each other’s trials and tribulations throughout the rest of their lives. Both Elise and Tusk find themselves at odds with their circumstances, Elise rebelling against her parents’ expectations while Tusk tries to escape slavery. A chance meeting at a raucous parade brings the two to meet, and the superstitious Elise seizes her opportunity to free her kindred spirit from his situation.

Jodorowsky is said to have only taken the film on as a means of keeping busy before his ultimately defunct Dune project, and was reportedly so disappointed with the result of this film that he attempted to destroy all working copies of it. Those versed in Jodorowsky’s otherworldly cinematic imagination may be disappointed by the straightforwardness of this one, but in all honesty it isn’t that bad. Aside from the occasional fart joke, Tusk tackles the concepts of fate and serendipity with surprising maturity for a children’s film, and the parallels made between the lives of Elise and Tusk are sweet if obvious. Kudos for the story must go to Reginald Campbell, whose book Poo Lorn of the Elephants formed the basis of the film, but the interpretation is all Jodorowsky’s. A warm, colourful oddity.





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