Based on an episode in the life of Jean Genet - but possessing none of the depth of play with sex and power in his writing - this features Piccoli as a supposedly great poet, playwright and all-round manipulator who falls for a young German-Algerian sweeper-up at the circus (Dadi), and resolves to make him a great tightrope- walker. Needless to say, the young man is soon tossed aside for a sexy would-be racing driver, and retreats for histrionic hair-tearing sessions with his beer-sodden mother. Ludicrously overwrought, and with a positively 19th-century notion of gay sex - all ageing Svengalis and gamy young Ganymedes - this wears its symbolism heavily, to say the least; and worst of all, it's stultifyingly dull, right up to the daft apocalyptic climax. Polly Walker, as Piccoli's confidante and 'cock-catcher', is mysteriously got up as a dead ringer for Grace Kelly.
Cast and crew