Quest for Fire
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Stone Age Naoh of the Ulams seeks fire and discovers Ika of the Ivakas and a better way to mate. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Quest for Fire is so detailed in its depiction of prehistoric man that it might have been made by time-traveling filmmakers. Instead it's a bold and timeless experiment by visionary director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear), inviting scientific debate while presenting a fascinating, imaginary glimpse of humankind some 80,000 years ago. Using diverse locations in Kenya, Scotland, and Canada, Annaud tells the purely visual story of five tribes (some more advanced than others) who depend on fire for survival. They "steal" fire from nature, but the actual creation of fire remains elusive, lending profound mystery and majesty to the film's climactic, real-time display of fire-making ingenuity. Employing primitive language created by novelist Anthony Burgess and body language choreographed by anthropologist Desmond Morris, a unique ensemble of actors push the envelope of their profession, succeeding where they easily could've failed. They're carnal, violent, funny, curious, and intelligent; through them, and through the eons, we can recognize ourselves. --Jeff Shannon
- 15 video galleries with director's commentaries
- "Quest for Fire Adventure" featurette
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Top Customer Reviews
During their quest, the men make an attempt at domesticating animals, repel a rival tribe, and meet an advanced tribe that has mastered fire and other technologies. They learn from this tribe and return to bring these gifts to their fellows.
The movie is not an any living human language and has no subtitles, but the body language conveys the meanings very clearly.
They are attacked by the wagaboo, a vicious tribe of animal men who also want fire. They are even less developed and don't know how to make fire either. After the attack, McGill and the survivors flee to the wet lands but lose their fire in the process. McGill and two of his closest companions are chosen by the tribal elder to go out and search for more fire.
Along the way they meet both hostile cannibals and beasts and friendly more advanced tribes who know how to make fire.
Rae Dawn Chong (Tommy Chong's daughter of Cheech and Chong) is a member of the advancd tribe who falls in love with McGill and becomes a critical part of their band.
There is no English or sub-tittles. All of the terse conversations are of a developed language that seemed a likely speech for those culturally primitive groups.
The movie was filmed in the wilds of Kenya, Scotland and Canada.
No mention in the film is ever made of gods or religion, however, the nature and necessity of fire brought to those people a certain reverence that may have been the beginnings of a need for a diety in a world of uncertain existance. The name for fire is "Ator".
Watching the film will bring to bear much thought about just how life was in the prehistoric and distant period of deep time.
I thought the weakest part of this project was that our primary tribe meets the more advanced "Marsh People" and the MPs provide the advancements - I wanted to see (and, when this was originally released, thought it was about) an interpretation of how homosapiens developed language, advanced weaponry - I mean tools, and discovered how "rubbing 2 sticks together" could produce fire, oh, also the poor makeup done on the more primitive tribes and the "sabers" on the Sabertooth Tigers (a good laugh watching them fight their dental extensions like a person with a new set of ill-fitting dentures!). Foibles aside, this was a fairly ambitious and original project and I do enjoy it - it is one of my multi-watch DVDs.
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