The Boy who wanted to be a bear

The Boy who wanted to be a bear

By Jannik Hastrup - 1h15 - 2002 (France, Denmark)
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The Boy who wanted to be a bear
Audience 6+

Synopsis

A mother bear loses her little baby bear after escaping from a pack of wolves. The father bear then decides to rescue a human baby in an effort to offset the mother bear's sorrow. At first the she is inconsolable, but eventually she agrees to raise the baby like a real little bear. Meanwhile, the baby's human parents will do anything to get their son back...

Benshi's review
Benshi's review

This Inuit tale tells the story of a child who is born human but raised by bears. In the course of a genuine coming-of-age journey, he has to choose which he wants to be. This search for identity reveals another message, about challenging preconceptions related to appearances: we can be who we want to be no matter where we come from, and that is thanks to the magical influence drawn from Inuit beliefs. The whole story unfolds among the Inuits, a singular setting that is rarely represented in the cinema. A family live amid mountains and while the man goes hunting (especially for bears, whose fur provides warmth), the woman looks after the house. The story's simplicity chimes with the authenticity of this culture that is very close to nature. The spirits of the sea and mountains, which are at the heart of Inuit imagination, are here represented as characters that metamorphose as they please. Give that the setting features ice fields and the Aurora Borealis, the visuals had to be rendered very gently. This is achieved beautifully thanks to traditional animation with pencil and paint brush, round artwork and characters with thick, clear lines who fit perfectly into a watercolour backdrop. Sometimes it is even possible to make out the grain of the card stock. The warm watercolours heat up the snow in the ice fields, adding a poetic touch to this gorgeous film. This is a story laced with magic and promoting family and difference as values to cherish. Young viewers are encouraged to come along in a visual and cultural journey and to enjoy escaping from worries with a little bear-boy amid magnificent snow-covered mountains...

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Top reasons to watch this film !

  • 1 To discover the rarely portrayed world of the Inuits, who live between ice fields and the Aurora Borealis.
  • 2 For the visual sweetness procured by watercolour backgrounds and characters drawn by pencil and paint brush
  • 3 For this story about a young boy learning about life finds his identity

Who is it aimed at ?

Very young children may find some scenes upsetting (especially the hunting scenes), which is why we recommend this for ages 6 and over.

Themes and topics

Animals Polar Circle Grief Difference Family Magic Coming of age Tales and legends
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