"Sauvage/Wild" is a story about prostitution, not like Vivian (Julia Roberts) in "Pretty Woman" rescued by the handsome prince Richard Gere or is it Julian (Richard Gere) in "The American Gigolo" wearing Armani suits but more like Anna Magnani in "Mamma Roma" or Giulietta Massina in "Nights of Cabiria" before it was turned into the Broadway Musical with Gwen Verdon as "Sweet Charity" or the movie version with Shirley Maclaine who are no longer prostitutes but dance hall girls!!
The nameless 22-year-old male makes a living and lives on the street. He drinks the rainwater from the streets, steals an apple when he can, eats trash from a dumpster, basically wears the same clothes every day and if he gets lucky sleeps in a bed if the trick allows him to stay all night.
The abuse his body takes finally catches up with him but all he wants is to live one more day, fall in love and be loved. Like life the one he loves doesn't love him and the one who loves him isn't loved by him.
This is not a love story with a 'happily ever after' ending but a nitty gritty story about a kid who lives on the streets, takes each day as it comes, does what he has to do with who he has to do it in order to survive so he can get up the next day and find that elusive love he wants to give and get.
The writer-screenwriter Camille Vidal-Naquet refers to the boy as Leo in press releases and makes no apologies for the nudity as this is the way Leo, and the others hustling, live. He puts Leo in many degrading situations which Leo accepts as the price for the way he lives. We know nothing about the boy before we meet him nor do we know about what happens to him after the last shot which will linger in your head for hours if not days.
Felix Maritaud, as Leo, gives his all and pulls us into the pain he is feeling and the moments of joy that come his way sparingly. There is a scene with a female doctor, played by Marie Seux, that gives you some of the insight to the pain he is living with but then Maritaud lets you see all of him, not only physically. He lives for the moment and draws you in to live those moments with him.
"Sauvage/Wild" is a movie that will show you a world that exists and you can no longer say you didn't know. These, if not your kids, are your neighbors kids, your kids schoolfriends and many pushed out of homes and on to the streets to find there is only one way to survive and which you probably couldn't.
Leo is 22 and sells his body on the street for a bit of cash. The men come and go, and he stays right here - longing for love. He doesn't know what the future will bring. He hits the road. His heart is pounding.