Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Bear, Jean-Jacques Annaud
Wandering on Youtube, I rediscovered a fabulous movie " The Bear" made by Jean Jacques Annaud. After so many years, it has still a charming appeal as in my childhood. The movie was very interesting edited to create invisible threads between the human and animal worlds.
This full of suspense movie make an interesting insight in bears behavior, and not only as you will discover later. When I saw it, my mind ran to the Greek Mythology that taught us that the bears are the followers of Callisto and Arcas, and they have powerful feelings - inherited from Callisto's former human feelings.
Ovid (the great Roman poet known as Publius Ovidius Naso) told us their story in his book "Metamorphoses": Callisto (translated as "most beautiful") was a charming nymph of Nonacris in Arcadia. She was seduced by Jupiter and gave birth to a son, Arcas. She was turned into a bear by Juno, Jupiter's jealous wife, when she gave birth to Arcas. After 15 years of wandering around the fields that had once been her home, they became the neighboring constellations at the North Pole: .
"All-powerful Jupiter ... set them in the heavens and made them similar constellations, the Great and Little Bear." Ovid, "Metamorphoses", Bk II:496-507 Arcas and Callisto become constellations.
Well, going back to "The Bear". The original story was narrowed in "The Grizzly King: A Romance of the Wild " book by James Oliver Curwood. Now, in public domain, it can be read here for free.
"The Bear" movie released in 1988 was a big success and was nominated for numerous international film awards. Its action was set in the stunning scenery of the late 19th-century British Columbia, Canada (close to Vancouver area). This great movie, without dialogues but with a lot of special effects, tells the story of an orphaned bear cub and a adult grizzly, pursued by hunters in the wilds. In some of the filmed scenes, were used animated puppets, but the greatness of this movie is represented by the spontaneous scenes realized by trained animals.
As a tag-line for the movie, I like the film director's quote "So, for the man that is in bears, I felt that it was perfect for man to feel the bear in him".
The wild actors: a pair of pumas and the bears (Bart, Douce, Griz and Doc) were trained with competence and ability long time by trainers to make the glacial mountains to became their territory, while prepared them for the movie scenes. It is really magic to see how people and animals can reach across the species barrier and really communicate. This movie offers a perfect opportunity to talk with your kids about natural habits, to show them the wildlife through the animals point of view.
"The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live" James Oliver Curwood
Merci, Monsieur Annaud!