One autumn morning, at the bend on a path, a little
girl catches sight of a fox. Fascinated to the point that
she forgets all fear, she dares to go up to it. For an instant,
the barriers that separate the child and the animal disappear.
is the beginning of the most amazing and of the most fabulous
of friendships. Thanks to the fox, the little girl makes interesting
discoveries of the wild and secretive forest. And so begins
an unprecedented adventure into the magical world of this
most elusive and enigmatic creatures, changing her life, her
vision and ours…
You really have to take your hat off when a director does a good job directing a kid. Then when the director has to direct a child and an animal, in a feature film nonetheless, you really have to give him credit for doing a job which not everyone can undertake. You’ve probably had your experience dealing with brats who refuse to listen to instructions and mischievously make things difficult for you – just for the fun of it. When it comes to animals, it’s probably worse – it doesn’t even understand what you are saying.
So we give points to French filmmaker Luc Jacquet for making a beautiful film about, well, a fox and a child. Jacquet, if you remember, is the director of the magnificent Oscar winning documentary March of the Penguins (2005). How does the Frenchman fare with his first drama feature film? It scores in the visual department, but rather thin when it comes to the storyline.
The story tells of, well, we have to say it again, a fox and a child. Their extraordinary friendship unfolds in a fairytale like manner in the movie’s 92 minute runtime. Along the way, we are treated to a visual spectacle of the awe inspiring wildlife that you wouldn’t think of visiting on a hot weekend afternoon. We are also given a lesson on how we should respect animals in this circle of life – a lesson which may appear too preachy to the cynical viewer.
For a film that is rated “General” by our friends at the censorship board, this picturesque film is a sure hit for educators. The simple storyline is perfect for young learners who are exposed to the visual learning medium for the first time. The messages of how humans should treat wildlife and how animals should belong to the open are clearly spelt out. In fact, there are a few harrowing scenes which may leave so much impact in a kid’s mind that they may not forget this movie in a long time.
For the rest of us adults, we have read about these lessons, or for the matter, seen this being portrayed in other educational flicks before – and in a more entertaining way too. The only reason our eyes remain glues on screen is the breathtaking landscapes and the luscious nature sceneries that are given a lot of emphasis in this tale. Sure, these are images that we will never forget too, but we’d prefer it if Jacquet could stick to making nature documentaries – adding that dramatic element will only dampen the viewing experience, despite the efforts he had put into directing the fox (we read that 10 foxes were used for filming) and the child on location.
This Code 3 DVD contains no bonus features.
The disc’s visual transfer complements the spectacular cinematography. The soundtrack is presented in its original French language.
Review by John Li