In Memory Of Charlie Phillips

"January 14th 1939 - October 6th 2020 - Rest in Peace Charlie"

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L'ours (1988)

Bear and Cougar Scenes
An orphan bear cub hooks up with an adult male as they try to dodge human hunters
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    Because in the wild, male bears usually eat bear cubs if they can, the filmmakers prepared the adult Bart the Bear for the cub by having him play with a teddy bear the size and fur color of the cub. When the trainers felt he was ready, he was introduced to the cub and he greeted the cub affectionately.

    The film opens with a quote from The Grizzly King: "The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live." The plot focuses on the idea of compassion for life and nature. At the end of the story we see that the younger of the two hunters has become wiser. He has survived because of the mercy afforded him by the grizzly. When found unarmed and helpless by the grizzly male, the younger hunter was at the grizzly's mercy. The grizzly left the young hunter alive, but could easily have killed him. Recovering from his shock, the young hunter first thought to kill the grizzly, but then gave thought to a deeper inspiration and allowed the grizzly to live, affording the bear the same mercy that was afforded him. We then learn that the older of the two hunters shares the thoughts of the younger hunter. The older hunter says near the end: "Everyone has a secret place, and by God that is how it should be." Ultimately the film shares its philosophical sentiment with that of the book on which it is based, that of a Biocentric or Deep Ecology.

    The Bear has very little dialogue, and no narration, which differentiates it from usual films. Communication between the movie and the viewer rely on body language and inferences, which enhance the relationship between the characters and the viewer, in a more deeply emotional manner.

Plot Synopsis by Mark Deming

    Jean-Jacques Annaud directed this unusual and compelling tale of animals in the wild, which tells its tale from the bears' point of view. A pair of carefully-trained bruins deliver remarkably effective "performances" (aided by clever editing and, in some sequences, the use of realistic animated models). A infant bear cub (Douce the Bear) witnesses the death of his mother in a rockslide and is forced to set out to fend for himself. The young bear encounters a giant grizzly (Bart the Bear), who at first cannot abide the young bear's presence. However, the grizzly is soon ambushed by a pair of hunters -- Bill (Jack Wallace) and Tom (Tcheky Karyo) -- after an altercation with their pack animals. As the injured beast cleans his wounds in a stream, the young bear comes to his aid, and the giant takes the youngster under his wing. However, Bill and Tom have sworn revenge on the grizzly, and when they capture the young bear, it lures the giant back into the hunters' camp. L'Ours, released in English-speaking countries as The Bear, was based on the novel King Grizzly by James Oliver Curwood.