The Ballad of Caveman Bill
Almost all of us sometimes can have their fill of consumer society. But few, if any, turn their backs on society altogether and retreat to a cave. These hermits often offer a rich source of material for filmmakers.
In Caveman Bill, director David Curtis finds such a recluse. But Bill is not quite so exotic and eccentric as the title would have us assume. His impressive beard and dilapidated pair of glasses, but especially his home, conform to this stereotype. On the other hand, Bill has regular contact with the village on the far side of the river he overlooks – as if he wants to be reminded of why he’s on this side and not on the other.
Particularly endearing are Bill’s observations of society and his position within it and his irony and self-deprecation. The scenes in which he shows his old school photos, scours the local waste tip, or hauls his cabinets and crates to higher ground are wonderful. The latter is necessary because river levels rise and Bill’s cave gets flooded. Hermits too, can’t escape climate change. It’s therefore no surprise to him when a boulder lands on his roof. But even that turns out not to be a loose stone, but a tourist who’s slipped on the rocks above.