The Genesis Children 1972
The Genesis Children 1972
1h 25min | Drama | August 1972 (USA)
A charismatic leader and a high-spirited student group are on holiday in Italy. The surreal adventures of these friends are a free-flowing, four-part “multi-sensual symphony,” bereft of traditional story line. One national critic described the boys’ anarchic revelry as a “dream-like descent from civilization into the chaos reminiscent of Lord of the Flies.”
`The Genesis Children’ is a legendary film that I was lucky enough to have seen in it’s initial (very brief) release in the early 70’s. Quickly withdrawn because of hostile critical reaction, it was released on video several years ago after having been regarded as `missing’ for decades. Despite a somewhat pretentious script that is nonlinear and difficult to follow on first viewing, it is a very earnest expression of naturist philosophy and is rather mystical in its approach.
The plot, such as it is, concerns eight American lads (ages about ten to sixteen) living in Rome, who are lured to a small Italian coastal town by a newspaper ad calling for boys `to act in a play.’ Along the way, they encounter a man (played by Vincent Child) who appears to them in various guises: a priest; a teacher; a policeman; a politician. Directed by him to a secluded beach and finding themselves alone, they hang out for several days, swimming and sunbathing au natural. Indeed, this may be the ultimate skinnydipping movie. While there, they have some adventures. They explore a cave. They raise and repair a sunken rowboat, only to have it sink again. They attempt to steal food from a local farmer. They drive an abandoned van and end up wrecking it. Much of Genesis Children is Tom Sawyerish, but ends more like a milder `Lord of the Flies.’
On the surface, it’s quite innocent except for an act of vandalism near the conclusion, which causes the boys to argue and breakup, some returning to civilisation and some choosing to stay. Also, there is a brief, ambiguous conversation between one of the younger kids and an older boy implying sexual activity.
On the downside, the production is rather amateurish and the acting a bit wooden. The cast is obviously made up of nonprofessionals.
On the upside, the color photography is outstanding with gorgeous shots of Rome and the Italian towns, countryside and coast. There is also a catchy musical score.
It must be said that Genesis Children is not intended for all audiences. Many would be offended by the extensive nudity parts of the film. I would think its appeal would mainly be for those interested in naturism and lovers of unconventional movie making.
Director: Anthony Aikman
Writers: Anthony Aikman, Billy Byars
Stars: Vincent Child, Greg Hill, Peter Glawson