French wildlife lovers see snow leopard to the music of Nick Cave


Tesson was remembered and loved on Baikal, because he lived alone for half a year in a modest dwelling on the shore of the lake, made friends with the locals. Later, he honestly described everything he saw, possibly offending someone. Thanks to his name, the road to the French film crew led by Nebbu was opened. Tesson also rode a Ural motorcycle from Paris to Moscow in the footsteps of the Napoleonic army. But the main thing in the film “In Search of the Snow Leopard” was not him, but the photographer Vincent Munier, who traveled with the camera to many countries, visited Kamchatka. He practices different ways of observing wild animals, and this is a real art. We also have directors who are ready to lie in the snow for hours and days, endure bad weather for the sake of a few shots of the awakening of a bear, for example. This is a dangerous profession, and what happened to one of the lovers of wildlife, we know from the film by Herzog Werner “Grizzly Man”.

It is curious that Tesson in the film “In Search of the Snow Leopard” recalls how he literally asked for a trip with Vincent Munier, as if he himself was an unknown and inexperienced traveler. It is felt that he bows to his colleague, behaves like a student. And each of them has its own unique experience.

This time, two brave travelers went to Tibet in search of a snow leopard. Marie Amiga was hired as a director, knowing her interest in wildlife and her ability to report on animals. She, of course, is not Wim Wenders, who shot the grandiose “Salt of the Earth” based on the works of the outstanding Brazilian photographer Sebastian Salnado. But her approach is impressive. A group of four people worked at an altitude of up to 5 thousand meters, sometimes at a temperature of minus 35. No one and nothing superfluous – otherwise the film would die. While hunting with a camera for a snow leopard, we met other no less amazing animals: a manula cat – a predatory embodiment of an ordinary cat, a Tibetan fox, antelopes rushing with incredible speed, yaks, which Vincent will compare with idols sent to us through the ages, ships of stopped time. We saw the Himalayan blue sheep and bears. The main thing in this business is to become invisible. If you are noticed, then anything can happen. Danger awaits at every turn. Vincent will say to Tesson at some point: “Freeze, Sylvain. They have noticed us.” This is about bears, ready for anything for a female or a cub.

Photo: Press service of the festival

Hunters without weapons combed the mountain ranges, and the snow leopard eluded them all the time, leaving traces of its presence. He only appeared at the end of the film. “I saw a leopard. I learned that patience is the highest virtue. It helps to love the world,” Vincent’s words sound too pathetic, like much of what he says, although in fact everything is true. He calls to enjoy what is, to enjoy the world, to fight for it to stay.

For the sake of the snow leopard, the trip was started, but Vincent Munier was already ready at some point to put up with the fact that he would not see him, and this is not even bad – let the dream remain a dream. The main thing is that in Tibet there was an opportunity to see the awakening of nature after a cold night and the breath of a deer. Just to see. This is not a stipulation. The deer is enveloped in a huge milky cloud, as happens on a more modest scale with a person on a frosty winter day. But it is impossible to hear the breath of a deer – too much distance separated the man and the animal.

The brave heroes of the film spent long hours in ambush, and this is a good opportunity to meditate, to think about essential things. Vincent believes that the world is crumbling in cities, which is why he himself is so eager to go to Kamchatka and the Far North, where there are no people. A person shouldn’t be bothered. How did Vincent live? Rapidly, changing from plane to train, from train to plane. And only in the midst of the greatness of nature did he realize the futility of what makes up our everyday life.

The soundtrack for the film was written by Australian musicians Warren Ellis and Nick Cave, whose mere mention can arouse interest. More than once films with his participation in the frame or behind the scenes were presented at the world’s largest film festivals, and this was always not commonplace. Cave himself, fascinated by the footage, sang somewhere in the last minutes, hardly at the moment of the appearance of a snow leopard with burning eyes. And this is a fantastic sight. The authors of the film saved the most delicious for dessert.

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