my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Cry of the Wild
Director:   Bill Mason
Year:   1973
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   09.12.05

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.12.05Alamo DowntownThis Screening is part of event: QT6
Documentary Night. This and tomorrow night are the only nights with less than three movies playing so it felt super brief and a complete waste of my awesome parking luck. It's ok though because both documentaries shown tonight were really great in different ways.

The first is this, about wolves in Canada. It was made by this dude Bill Mason, who is one of these guys in the early 70s who seemed to have a physical love affair with freedom. Like he had a board of wood with a hole in it and "freedom" written at smooch level that he took to bed every saturday or something. This whole movie has a supremely explicit freedom bent to it... This guy gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere for months at a time with just himself and 80 pounds of survival and camera equipment and he walks around camping out next to dead caribou in hopes of capturing some wolf behavior. Now, I hope it doesn't sound like this is a bad thing. This dude is awesome. He sets up his second camera with a remote trigger to film himself filming the wolves, and there are occasional interjections where he explains exactly how he's shooting and where to let us all know that when we see a panning shot of him, it's actually during that fourth winter when he took a buddy along to get pick-up shots, not that the whole thing is fake.

What's funny is that he doesn't actually have a lot of luck out there. Lots of aerial shots of wolves running but that's about it. He does build this igloo though, that was so badass to see it made me want to live in one, like a summer home or something. At one point he hears wolves outside but doesn't want to chance scaring them off by going outside to shoot so he just takes his little saw and cuts himself a window to point his camera out of. It was so friggin cool... i so want an igloo.

The film sort of shifts at one point to a pack that's being held in captivity, including two that are tame and as lovable as dogs. Here there's a segment about the reproductive cycle with the requisite sort-of-gross/sort-of-cute shots of the newborn cubs and seeing them grow up and play and whatnot.

And then, presumably because his mistriss wills it, he gets sad that these wolves have never lived in freedom, so he shoots them with tranq darts and hauls them 3000 miles to the frozen tundra and lets them loose and stops feeding them. So these poor wolves just hang out and starve, basically... probably complaining (if this was a cartoon) about what happened to the TV dinners. There's a great shot where Mason sets up that the Caribou have finally returned to this area and there's a whole group of them running away and we pan over to... the wolves just sitting there. Like actually working for their food is just not gonna happen. Then we see a shot of a few caribou looking into camera, no doubt thinking "what the hell is wrong with those wolves? this must be a trick or something."

So they take the wolves back to captivity, proving the point that not only are wild wolves terrified of humans, but they also need to be taught to hunt prey. and freedom is great.
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