The Valley of the Wolves
La Vallée des loups
Panorama | Spotlight on France
One man’s obsessive quest to find and commune with wolves in still-unknown territory in the high Alps, The Valley of the Wolves marks the return of Jean-Michel Bertrand, director of VIFF 11 standout Flirting with Heights. For his latest gorgeously made documentary, Bertrand, who grew up in the Alps, spent three years alone, single-mindedly reading clues and seeking out the wolves in their natural habitat. (After dying out in the 1930s, wolves have made a strong natural comeback since the 1990s: government estimates put their numbers at 360 across France, and farmers are upset by the livestock deaths they are responsible for…). He employed multiple motion-activated camera set-ups in his search, and, gradually, he not only found a wolf pack, but he also managed to closely observe them—and then ended up being accepted by the group… Full of stunning images of the titular mountain valley (Bertrand has steadfastly refused to reveal its location), captured in all four seasons, and the spectacular flora and fauna that live there, this is a beautiful adventure story worthy of Jack London.
"It is not necessary to be passionate about wolves to be dazzled by this documentary… First, because The Valley of the Wolves… is full of sublime images: those of spectacular and dizzying landscapes and those of the fauna that live there, from deer to small owls with incredible yellow eyes… And second, because the quest for the wolf is described here as if it were a thriller…"—Le Parisien