Barely a Script, But a Bear of a Movie
I am a lucky man-- when things get rough in my life, I can always count on my family . . . but sometimes I wonder if my family is an extension of my own consciousness and perspective on the world . . . sometimes I wonder if my family sees the world the same way I see it; I was looking for a movie to show to my Creative Writing classes, a film that told a story with very little dialogue and an abundance of imagery, and my colleagues and the internet led me down the usual paths -- Wall - E, 2001, Castaway, etc.-- but I wanted to show something that the kids had never seen before, and I stumbled upon a French film called The Bear . . . a movie about a young bear who has to survive in the wild after his mother has been killed by an avalanche . . . and while my wife and children loved this movie . . . despite the blood, the mating scene, and the psychedelia (the baby bear ingests hallucinogenic mushrooms and "trips" and-- besides this-- he also has a number of weird and expressionistic dreams) and despite the lack of dialogue (my son Alex aptly summed up the script: "it could fit on half a page of paper") we had a fantastic time watching this thing, we speculated on how they filmed it, we enjoyed the aesthetic beauty of the bears, and we were appropriately moved by the plot . . . and so I thought I knew what to expect when I showed it in class, but there was a much wider variety of reactions from my high school students than I anticipated: some loved it, some were disturbed by the drama and the realism, some couldn't understand the fact that it was a movie -- that the bears were acting and that no one was shot or hurt or nearly drowned . . . that every scene was set up and that the emotional impact of the bears' body language was an artistic conceit, probably created more in the mind of the audience than by the emotional state of the bears . . . and while I highly recommend this movie, both for adults and children, I must warn you that you will sound like a lunatic when you describe it, because you will delve into the details of how well these bears can act-- how they can feign an injury and pretend to catch a frog and show sadness and regret-- and so no one will listen to you, nor will they understand what an entertaining flick this is . . . but trust me and check it out (also, it's fun to say the title as if you were a Bill Swerski Superfan . . . What are you watching? Da Bear).