Black Moon (1975)

Black Moon, a 1975 film directed by Louis Malle. The surreal narrative pivots around a confused teenager (Cathryn Harrison) who witnesses a war between the sexes and finds herself involved in numerous dream-like situations at a country estate. An underlying subtext offers a convoluted commentary on the women’s movement of the 1970s.

Also in the cast are Joe Dallesandro (Andy Warhol star as a psychic opera-singing gardener), Therese Giehse, and Alexandra Stewart. The film was shot in Malle’s own 200-year-old manor house and Malle’s surrounding 0.91 km2 estate in the lush, wild Dordogne valley in Quercy, near Cahors.

Malle: “I don’t know how to describe Black Moon because it’s a strange melange – if you want, it’s a mythological fairy-tale taking place in the near future. There are several themes; one is the ultimate civil war…the war between men and women. I say the ‘ultimate civil war,’ because through the 1970s we’d been watching all this fighting between people of different religions and races and political beliefs. And this was, of course, the climax and great moment of women’s liberation. So, we follow a young girl, in this civil war; she’s trying to escape, and in the middle of the wood she finds a house which seems to be abandoned. When she enters the house, she obviously enters another world; she’s in the presence of an old lady in bed, who speaks a strange language and converses with a huge rat on her bedside table. She goes from discovery to discovery – it’s a sort of initiation.”

A black moon, in astrological terms, refers to the time of chaos that preludes some cataclysmic change.

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