- The Bear
- Jean-Jacques Annaud
- 96 BluRay
- Film Club
- September 17, 2023 11:00
“Dazzling … The ultimate animal picture … What’s most impressive about The Bear is its determination to use the landscape as a soundstage, animals as trained actors, and the cycle of nature as pure melodrama.”Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
What is it like to be a bear? For French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, this was a question that required a re-thinking of animal-film conventions, resulting in a unique hybrid between special effects and documentary. The Bear is a family melodrama of sympathy and suspense, following a young grizzly bear, left alone in the world, as he evades hunters and meets a new parental figure in a wounded Kodiak bear. It’s also a film of immersive nature photography, with long dialogue-free stretches of discovery and shocking wildlife survival sequences. (Yes, these non-talking bears are omnivores, which means they eat honey and berries, but also hunt other living animals.) Annaud found his inspiration in the British Columbia described in James Oliver Curwood’s novels. The film is set here in 1885, with Italy’s Dolomite Alps standing in for this province’s vistas. The Jim Henson Company’s bear animatronics act as seamless stand-ins for the film’s more intense action stunts.
“A nature movie like no other … Enthralling for both children and adults, The Bear weaves its spell with a sophisticated array of images and sounds.”Brian D. Johnson, Maclean’s