Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great Moments in Cinema - Quest for Fire (1981)



A WATERFALL TUMBLES NOISILY into a small lake. Its shores are bordered with pebbles and surrounded by a forest of birch trees.

Naoh and Gaw crouch at the water’s edge cupping their hands, drinking water. They place three stones on the ground in a straight line, and a fourth one on top. (It evidently has magical significance).

Four women of ample proportions approach from the footpath leading to the lake. They carry two bison skulls made watertight with clay and animal skin. One of these water bearers is GAMMLA, Faum’s daughter. Her generous build is typical of the adult females of the tribe.

A young male, LAKAR, appears as the women quench their thirst, before filling the improvised water jugs. He creeps forward, looking lustily at the posterior of one of the females. She is leaning slightly forward.

EXT. BIRCH FOREST - LAKE - DAY                                16

Three Neanderthals advance in silence. Now and then they run on their arms and legs, much like Rhesus monkeys. To the left, through the trees in the distance, they see Naoh and Gaw plunging harpoons in the lake’s shining water. RASPY PANTING can be HEARD.

The intriguing SOUND comes from behind a mossy hillock. The three hunched brutes head cautiously in this direction. Through the ferns they see:


Lakar, on all fours, coupling with the female he desired. The lacy screen of ferns partly hides their bodies. In the b.g. the other females gather water, paying no attention to the mating scene.

EXT. THE LAKESHORE - DAY                                        18

At the very instant Naoh spears a fish: Lakar’s SCREAM rises briefly above the waterfall’s steady roar.

Lakar runs from the forest holding his face in his hands. he dashes towards the women, his three aggressors in pursuit. All the women except Gammla cower against each other and scream.

Naoh doesn’t bother to remove the fish from his spear. He dashes forward with Gaw. They are swifter than the Neanderthals. But the latter are closer to the women and Lakar. (But Gaw easily outruns Naoh.)


Blood gushes from Lakar’s forehead. he tries to use the women, whose backs face the lake, as a shield. The women imitate Gammla and start to throw stones at the Neanderthals.

For a moment they hesitate to charge. One Neanderthal is hit in the mouth by a stone. Blood spurts from his split lips. Furious, he rushes at a woman and stabs her in the groin with his spear. A WHIRRING SOUND is HEARD. A spear pierces the brute’s neck. He falls heavily to the ground near his victim. We HEAR Naoh and Gaw’s SHOUTS. The two remaining aggressors ready themselves for the Ulam’s counterattack.

From the rear, Lakar beats a kneeling Neanderthal with a large stone. One of the brutes snaps Naoh’s harpoon with a backhand swing of his club. Five new Neanderthals emerge from the forest. With a gesture, Naoh orders his people towards the footpath.


The Ulam race in this direction with Lakar outrunning the rest. He dashes up the narrow path and disappears around the bend.

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