Jean-Michel Bertrand (The Valley of the Wolves, VIFF 17) is back with another stunning eco-adventure spectacle. This time, his backdrop is the margins of the French Alps; he’s on a quest to document young wolves as they break off from their pack with the aim of fending for themselves and, eventually, finding mates. The director begins his quest by pinpointing four mountain passes through which the wolves might travel; he then sets up remote cameras at the spots and pitches camp in a rocky cave to monitor and plan.
Bertrand works with an obsessive zeal, and his dedication is the viewer’s reward: what unfolds under his gaze is engaging and beautiful, not least for the sharp clarity of the digital images. This film is a treat for nature lovers, and for all those with a yen for narratives of solitude and determination. Bertrand’s mission calls to mind those of his beloved wild canines; in the vast, forbidding winter lands, they all come to seem like compatriots.
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Born in 1959 in the Alps, Jean-Michel Bertrand is a French filmmaker. After being a ski instructor and a park ranger, he started filming all around the globe: Iceland, Ireland, Mongolia, China, Russia… Vertige d’une rencontre (Flirting with Heights, VIFF 2011) chronicled his fascination with golden eagles. After three years of observation, he completed The Valley of the Wolves (VIFF 2017).
Flirting with Heights (2009); The Valley of the Wolves (2016)