Fiction which breathes on the realms of real is a rare work of art. ‘The Bear’ (L’ours) is one such cinematic experience. A moment ago you are seething with worldly chores and the next you are taken for a ride— a ride into the wild! This dream like awakening is as surreal as it is real. To put to words what ‘The Bear’ transfers to the celluloid is a posing task. It enthralls you to the edge of your seat and evokes emotions that you never knew were hibernating deep within in you. The subtle undertone which rides through the course of its essay is improbable to miss. For all the right reasons, the movie was endorsed by both the American Humane Association and the World Wildlife Fund.
The Bear is based on James Oliver Curwood’s novel The Grizzly King (1916) and tracks the journey of an orphan bear cub (the momma bear’s death paints poignancy all over the screen) who follows an adult male grizzly as they try to escape human hunters.
Right from the opening sequence that shows the cub playing with the mother bear to the innocent dreams that the bear envisions…there is the smell of jungle all through it and try as hard as you can, it’s unmistakably present in the movie.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie wherein the asperity of being in the wild is brought to life.
The Bear stirs hullabaloo in the world of Wildlife films which often fall into the trap of being labeled as the one for minors with their often predictive story lines. This isn’t your typical animal movie wherein you’d have funny antics from the dogs, the talking cats and the likes. It shows wildlife as life in wild is. So you do have your adrenaline rush moments wherein the cub gets chased by a cougar (The director used animatronic bears for filming several of the fighting scenes), the innocence personified pain that surges through you during the orphaned cub’s dream sequences of chasing bees…
The film’s tagline—”The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live” echoes the sentiment of the hunter/author who turned conservationist.
Hachiko, the legendary Japanese Akita dog has been the testimony of loyalty for nearly a century now. In 1924, Hachiko was brought to Tokyo by his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. During his owner’s life, Hachiko saw him off from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station.
The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925 when Professor Ueno didn’t return on the usual train one evening as he couldn’t survive the fatal brain hemorrhage. Hachiko was given away after his master’s death, but he religiously escaped, turning up time and again at his old home. With the passage of time, Hachiko apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. This marked the beginning of one of the utmost heart-wrenching love stories you’ll ever pay an audience to….a decade on the trot, Hachiko waited for Professor Ueno to return. And each day he didn’t see his friend among the commuters at the station.
In 1932, one of these articles, published in Tokyo’s largest newspaper, threw the dog into the national spotlight. Hachiko became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his long dead master impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachiko’s vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country a new awareness of the Akita breed grew. Eventually, Hachiko’s legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty. An annual ceremony celebrated each year on April 8, Hachiko’s devotion is honored with a solemn ceremony of remembrance at Tokyo’s Shibuya railroad station.
The 1987 Japanese movie, Hachiko Monogatari, based on Hachiko’s undying loyalty to his master even after his death was a run-away Japanese box office success. Believe me, if this story fails to arouse an emotional outburst through your lachrymal glands then perhaps you need to seek psychiatry help! 🙂 Adorned with the 1987 Genesis Awards (awarded for films that contribute to the humane treatment of animals), Hachiko movie review scored with critics and audiences alike. This poignant tale, the profound commentary on the concept of “interspecies altruism” is directed in a subtle manner unlike most of the other movies in the genre. This film presents to us the inexplicable bond between two souls of different species. None of the other characters in the film seem to understand it; the man’s own family cannot appreciate it; and I wouldn’t be surprised if we, the audience, are not expected to understand it either. This adds even more value to the magical bond which Professor Ueno & Hachi shared.
A review on Imdb.com reads,” If this movie doesn’t affect you, you are THE DEVIL!”
If you’re an animal lover, you’ll be hooked from the first minute. If you’re not an animal lover, then you’ll be one by the time the movie’s over.
There once was a man so an old story goes Went to the station every day rain or snow His faithful dog would walk right by his side And sit there and wait till he came home at night
And when the man died the dog still would go To the station each day … why? no one knows
He was waiting for someone he loved Waiting for someone he loved Someone he believed in someone he could trust Day after day waiting for someone he loved
Days turned to weeks and months turned to years Trains came and went, but the dog still appeared Hoping to see the face he adored His old true companion – the one he lived for But then came the night when the dog finally died Now I know he’s there walking by his masters side
He’s been waiting for someone he loved Waiting for someone he loved Someone he believed in someone he could trust Don’t you think humans could learn from that dog? Now I don’t know about all of you But I wish that my heart was so true To think he could miss him that much
He spent all his life waiting for someone he loved Waiting for someone he loved!
In the summer of 2009 and Hachiko was brought back to the silver screen, this time in a Hollywood production starring Richard Gere. This movie would surely capture your imagination and catapult you to the world which has only lived in your vivid memories like those of Grimm Brothers fairy tales, here’s my homage…a silent nod to Hachiko’s immortal love and loyalty!