The Bear (L'Ours)
directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
(TriStar, 1988)

A bear cub is orphaned when its mother is killed, and promptly attaches himself to an enormous male bear. The bears must learn to tolerate one another and survive hunters coming into their territory.

Doesn't sound like much of a story, does it? Wrong! The astonishing detail, the magnificent scenery, the perfect musical score, the incredible photography -- of both the background and the close-ups of the two bears -- all add up to a seldom talked about but truly wonderful film. It can be enjoyed by any age, and is perfect for families. Hunting enthusiasts might not enjoy it, though, as the hunters are clearly the bad guys here. The bears act perfectly and naturally, without appearing to go through trained routines.

I saw this film when it first came out on the big screen, and do not know how well it translates to video. I'm guessing it loses some of its grandeur and magnificence, especially for the panoramic shots. But, the bears and their simple but rich story would still be there. On DVD with a HD TV, less might be lost.

by Chris McCallister
1 April 2006

Buy it from