From Channel 4 Film:
Factory worker Piccoli gets into trouble when he’s caught watching his boss shag a secretary. It’s the final straw. Oppressed by the system, hounded by his mother (Herviale) and bored witless by his menial job, Piccoli cracks. He goes home, takes a sledgehammer to his possessions, turns his room into a cave and starts grunting like a horny Neanderthal before making a move on his sister, Romand.
The news crews love it, the police don’t – especially when Piccoli racks up a police officer on a spit and barbecues him for supper. Soon the neighbours are copying his lead and Paris begins to resemble an X-certificate version of The Land That Time Forgot. Faraldo’s statements on society’s treatment of the disenfranchised, its sheep mentality and blinkered media worship may be blunt, but his anarchic film (which contains almost no discernible dialogue) is the indescribably weird and hilarious product of an acrid imagination.
By Steven Puchalski:
Barely released in the U.S. and ignored by all but the most fanatical arthouse deviants, this surreal French satire is steeped in pitch-black weirdness. And even when writer/director Claude Faraldo loses his (tenuous) intellectual footing and settles for pure gonzo silliness, this surrealistic vision of an Everyman’s mental breakdown is worth a look, if only for its audacity.
But the most inspired aspect of this Working Class Rant is the fact that nobody on-screen utters a single word of intelligible dialogue, with the entire story told in grunts, howls or simple gibberish. At first glance, the middle-aged Themroc (Michel Piccoli) seems like your typical, brutish, dirty-undershirted factory laborer. And his day goes straight into the crapper once he arrives at his dreary job, and is called onto the carpet after playing voyeur on a manager and his leggy secretary. With a lifestyle this demeaning and repetitious, it’s no big surprise when Themroc suddenly goes bonkers, and for the first time in his miserable life, breaks free of his 9-to-5 shackles.
The second he gets home, this disgruntled wacko wrecks his apartment (unlike modern-day Americans, who’d prefer to grab a gun and shoot their boss) and begins acting like a modern-day Neanderthal. To the dismay of his grey-haired hag of a mom, Themroc begins fondling his sister and transforms his dreary li’l flat into a literal urban cave (to match his new-found primitive desires) by knocking a huge, ragged hole in the side of his building, then tossing all his modern conveniences into the courtyard.
This crude ‘n’ rude social satire grabs Civilized Behavior by the balls and twists ’em off in the name of audacious laughs and puddle-deep polemics. Without question, it’s best appreciated by every working class slob who ever wanted to chuck it all into the trash and revert back to simpler, Cro-Magnon pleasures of the flesh.