|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||Le Dernier Loup|
|Production country:||China/Frankreich 2015|
|Running time:||Approx. 118 min.|
China in 1967: The two students Chen Zehn (Shaofeng Feng) and Yang Ke (Shawn Du) are sent from Beijing to Inner Mongolia by the government to teach the shepherds here to read and write. This is to turn the simple nomads into settled citizens loyal to the government. Chen Zhen is immediately taken with the harsh wilderness and its inhabitants. With the help of the old Mongol Biling (Baoyingexige), he studies the life in the wilderness and especially the wolves. One day, when orders are given to kill all wolf cubs, Chen Ten secretly rescues one of the small animals. In a hiding place in the nomads' camp, he raises the cub. A very special friendship develops between the human and the animal. But the pack of the little wolf is out for revenge. But is it really the animals who pose the greatest danger to humans in the midst of this harsh nature?
The story of The Last Wolf was told by former dissident and professor of economic policy Jian Rong, published under a pseudonym. In China, the book became one of the most successful novels ever, selling over 20 million copies. And in Germany, too, the work made it onto the bestseller lists under the title The Wrath of Wolves. The story's great popularity in China enabled Jean-Jaques Annaud to adapt the book for the screen without any notable censorship, despite its message of criticism of the regime. For this, he was granted not only a very large budget by Chinese standards, but also a lot of preparation time. This was necessary in order to get the wolves featured in the film used to interacting with humans while they were still puppies.
As in The Bear or Two Brothers, combining a touching story with stunning landscape and wildlife shots. Accompanied by one of the last film scores of the much too early deceased James Horner, the result is a magical cinematic experience that gains even more intensity through beautiful 3D effects. Admittedly, at times the whole thing is laid on too thick and tends to cliché-heavy kitsch. But whenever there are failures in this direction, the film manages to make them forgotten with its great imagery and very emotional moments and captivate its audience. The message, which is supposed to make you think about the relationship between man and nature, is conveyed in a stirring and in some scenes even downright poetic way. It's so beautiful, a little kitsch is allowed.
The Last Wolf is a gripping adventure, a wonderful film about friendship, responsibility and freedom. Jean-Jaques Annaud uses the means of modern 3D cinema perfectly to transport the beauty of nature and animals to the screen in the best possible way. Even with the realization of the story, he does justice to the successful and award-winning book - despite some lengths and clichés. If you liked Annaud's earlier animal films, you shouldn't miss this one either. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp