Plot: As a violent conflict rages in the countryside, Lily (Cathryn Harrison) travels through the rural area and is accosted by a band of well armed soldiers, though she is able to evade capture or a worse fate. She takes refuge in a remote house located on a sizable estate that is home to several eccentric people, none of whom seem bothered by this new guest’s arrival. An old woman is the home’s central presence, but she is occupied by a broken radio and a large rat, while outside a man and a woman tend to the property and fend off invaders. As she explores the estate, Lily experiences a wide range of encounters, from a plus size unicorn to packs of feral children to the old woman, who seems to cycle through various emotions at a brisk clip. But what is going on at this strange estate and has Lily found a haven from the raging war outside, or is this place just as dangerous?
Entertainment Value: I loved this movie, as Louis Malle created a creative, unique experience that subverts expectations and sticks in your mind long after the end credits have passed. Black Moon has minimal dialogue and doesn’t lean on narrative in the traditional sense, which puts the focus on visuals, atmosphere, and a series of odd, often surreal experiences. In other words, the movie doesn’t hold your hand and explain the situations, which is certain to frustrate some viewers, but I deeply appreciated the wide open, creative approach taken. The story is more episodic than straight ahead, though we do have a central lead and the movie follows her experiences, so revisited themes and some sense of progress are present here. I love how little is revealed about the world Black Moon takes place in, as it allows for a genuine sense of wonder and interest, especially given how things unfold once she reaches the estate. But I can understand how the lack of traditional exposition and explanations could throw some viewers off, so Black Moon can be an acquired taste. I love that we are just dropped into this surreal world and taken on such a creative, esoteric journey however, so I found Black Moon to be a wonderful experience.
The movie has some odd moments in the sexual realm, from an unsettling breast feeding sequence to insinuations of bizarre sexual unions, but there’s not a flood of naked flesh on showcase here. There are some topless scenes and the feral children are all nude, but the latter has no sexual element involved, as the children are shown as wild and free, hence the lack of clothes. There’s a little blood, but not much and what violence is present is never graphic or visceral. I think the most violent scene is when Joe Dallesandro sword fights a sadistic bird, though the scene where the feral children swarm is quite odd and surreal. The dialogue is sparse, but memorable and includes the outlandish encounters with the old man and the plus size unicorn, both spectacular characters that yield fun interactions. But as I said, the movie doesn’t have a lot of dialogue involved, though it does make sure the lines that are present more than compensate for the lack of volume. On the topic of craziness however, Black Moon rises to the challenge and delivers a surreal moon shot of creative, dreamlike moments that never cease to dazzle the mind. The pack of feral children, the unicorn, the old woman, the mysterious world the movie takes place in, the myriad of unexplained wonders, this is one wild ride, to say the least.
Overall Insanity: 10/10