Sunday, August 7, 2011

Movie Moments: #103


Quest For Fire (1981)

Having looked at Raquel Welch as a cavewoman in One Million Years BC, let’s continue the theme and look at some other caevpeople.
Those Byters who watch the reality game show Survivor will be aware that at various stages the tribes have to progressively evict members.  As members are evicted and have to immediately leave, host Jeff Probst extinguishes that person’s flaming torch and says “Fire represents life.  The tribe has spoken.”
So it was with early humans.  Fire, once utilised, was a support for life:  warmth, protection, eating, shaping weapons.  But fire was taken from nature and kept guarded, not made.  Recall the scene where Tom Hanks discovers how to make fire in Castaway. 
As the name states, the film concerns a tribe’s search for fire, a sort  of prehistoric Fellowship of the Ring.  During that quest:
·         Naoh, the leader of the Homo erectus Wabagu clan, discovers love, with Ika of the more advanced Homo sapiens Ivaka tribe.
·         The Ivaka tribe shows Noah how to make fire.
·         The Ivaka tribe also show Naoh more advanced weapons, including spear throwers
·         The Wabagu members discover laughter and humour.
·         Ika shows Naoh how to be a Sensitive New Age Caveman by teaching him the missionary position.
·         Naoh becomes the first ever mammoth whisperer.
·         Wabagu tribe member Gaw rebuffs a homosexual advance by Amoukar
How much more do you want in a caveman movie?

When the Wabagu tribe is attacked by a Neanderthal tribe and their fire taken, the Wabagu send 3 of their tribe on a search for replacement fire. 

As with One Million Years BC, there is a lack of quotable material in this film, although there is a  lot of “Ooh, ooh”.
The opening narration, reminiscent of Jeff Probst in Survivor, is:
"80,000 years ago, man's survival in a vast uncharted land depended on the possession of fire.  For those early humans, fire was an object of great mystery, since no one had mastered its creation. Fire had to be stolen from nature, it had to be kept alive - sheltered from wind and rain, guarded from rival tribes.  Fire was a symbol of power and a means of survival. The tribe who possessed fire, possessed life."


According to current knowledge, Neanderthal interaction with early modern humans has taken place only significantly later than 80,000 years ago, from about 40,000 to 20,000 years ago. Some evidence has been discovered since the film's release suggesting that interbreeding between Neanderthal and early humans did occur in Europe. 

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