Land of the Bears (2013) Movie Script

Far away on the edge
of the earth,
to the far east of Siberia.
Nature's wildest wilderness.
A spectacle of raw
and sometimes brutal nature.
300 volcanoes,
30 currently active,
belching out torrents of lava.
Streams of fire
amidst rivers of ice.
A lost land far from man,
far from everything.
One people rule
this immense land.
They're out of sight.
But in fact,
they're everywhere.
at the bottom of the valleys,
in the mountains,
in the heart of the forest,
15,000 to 20,000 bears
are still hidden
under a blanket of snow.
They are waiting
for a never-ending winter
to come to a close.
Eight months.
Eight long months.
In their dens, life has
slowed down for the bears.
Only the newborn cubs
are moving around - clumsily.
Bears don't live in groups
or with a mate.
They live all alone
in their own dens.
Along with their mother,
who will take care of them
for three years.
The cubs are still unaware
of the natural environment
just outside the den -
the snow,
the mountains,
the freezing wind.
They'll have to wait
until the spring,
when their mother decides
it's time to leave,
to discover the world.
For now,
the weather is too brutal.
And yet, in the bitter cold,
one young, inexperienced bear
is already out of his den.
He's four years old -
old enough to spend
his first winter alone,
away from his mother,
away from the twin sister
he grew up with.
He probably didn't eat enough
before the first snow
and hunger has brought him
out of his den too early.
He has to find food.
His life depends on it.
But how can he do it
now that his mother
is no longer at his side
to guide him?
What could he find
in this vast, frozen land?
Beyond the cols
and the volcanoes,
hidden in the heart
of the mountains,
there is a place like no other.
If bears could talk, they would
certainly recount the legend -
the legend of
the Valley of Geysers.
The legend of a fire
brewing under the earth,
of hot water gushing
from the depths of the earth,
of dozens of steam vents
dancing in the wind,
warming everything around it.
Here, it's already spring.
A haven of greenery and warmth
appears out of nowhere
in the dead of winter,
and all around it,
cold and snow.
The young bear
knows the valley.
His mother used to take him
there every spring.
So he tries to find the trails
he trekked down following her.
And little by little,
as he continues to search,
he remembers.
He's getting close.
He feels it.
He was right.
The first buds are already out.
He has found the trail
leading to the valley.
He can finally eat, graze,
and graze again.
He's not eaten for months.
His body has to get used to it
again with plants and fibre.
That's all he can digest
for now.
But is the young bear
really alone in the valley?
No. He senses something.
Like all bears,
he's near-sighted
but has a highly developed
sense of smell,
and that's how he knew
another bear was near,
even before seeing it
behind the thick steam
in the heat of the geysers.
He approaches carefully.
It's been months
since he's seen another bear
and he doesn't know
how this one will react.
This odour, he knows well.
It's the sister
he left behind 10 months ago,
before winter began.
The sister he lived with
for three years
before they were separated.
The sister he used to play
so many games with.
For them, sniffing is like
a hug or a kiss.
They're happy to see
each other again.
They grab each other,
hold on to each other,
hit each other,
displaying both their affection
and their strength.
The young bear's sister
is with him again.
Now he can fully take advantage
of what the valley has
to offer.
Time goes by.
It's slowly getting warmer.
And other bears have also
found their way to the valley.
A family -
a mother and her cubs.
They don't have to worry
about anything.
They're still nursing.
The mother bear
is very attentive,
constantly on the alert,
and keeps her cubs away from
older cubs that are too rough.
All of the other mothers
behave the same way,
keeping an eye
on the other bears -
the young ones in particular,
whose playful games
can turn violent.
And indeed, for the young bear
and his sister,
as the days pass,
competition, conflict
and brutality
eventually overshadow
their affection.
They can't live together
It's the law of their species.
Inevitably, they separate.
They must accept
their destiny -
to live alone,
away from the other bears,
away from their family.
Not far away,
at the top of the mountains,
a huge 600-kilogram male
is also awake.
He's 12 years old
and very experienced.
He ate a lot before winter came
and waited for the right moment
to leave his den.
He is not in a rush.
He is calm.
His survival does not depend
on him finding food.
So he strolls along
and dawdles about.
He enjoys being in Contact
with nature again.
The water.
The soil.
The snow.
The trees.
As if he were seeing
old friends again
after spending months
in his den.
When we see
how gracefully he moves,
it's hard to believe that bears
have long been considered
as wild, ferocious beasts.
No. Bears are a combination
of power and gentleness.
The big bear is calm
and enjoying his solitude,
his tranquillity.
In the valley, the young bear
seems to be bored.
At his age, it's not so easy
to find something to do
when you're by yourself.
He'll have to grow up and learn
how to make it on his own.
The young bear passes by
the mother and her cubs
one last time.
Maybe he's thinking
about his own family...
...and the joyful life
the three of them had.
One that he'll never
experience again.
He takes one last look
at the valley
he spent the latter part
of the winter in.
The one that probably
saved his life.
He passes through the cols
and goes beyond the valleys
and the snow-capped mountains
to roam the enormous
Kamchatka territory
and live out his bear destiny.
In the valley,
the big bear knows that
it's not time to leave yet.
he's unaware of the fact
that his future, and the future
of the other bears,
is being determined
at that very moment
thousands of kilometres
away from Kamchatka.
in the depths of the ocean,
the salmon of the Pacific
are waiting for a signal.
500 million salmon,
many of which were born
in the rivers of Kamchatka.
They've made it to the ocean
and have been growing
for four years,
feeding off of
the abundant food.
They have reached maturity.
They are now ready for the
long, 4,000-kilometre journey
to lay their eggs in the rivers
at the same place
where they were born.
How they find their way
in the huge ocean
remains a mystery.
But the survival of
all the bears from Kamchatka
depends upon that mystery.
The bears have suffered
through winter.
They have spent six to eight
months in their dens
without eating.
They have had only
herbs and roots to eat
for the past two months.
And now they have to wait
for the salmon
to swim thousands of kilometres
to get to the coast.
Another long month is spent
grazing and wandering
about Kamchatka.
The wait is long.
So long.
They're all watching the river,
waiting for the salmon,
waiting for the flutter
of a fin,
a sliver of silver reflection.
A body slithering
through the water.
Waiting for that first fish.
Hunger has made them irritable
and less tolerant than usual.
They have to be
in the best position
when the salmon arrive... last.
The bears have waited months
for this moment-
the first fish of the year,
the promise of better days.
And soon
there will be even more.
Millions of salmon are just
a few miles from the coast -
not far at all.
They have one last hurdle -
to avoid the jaws
of the sea lions.
Most of them do survive
and regroup,
ready to begin
the last leg of their journey -
the rivers.
In the vast amount
of salt water,
they can detect the smallest
drop of fresh water
from the river
they were born in.
The odour has remained
mysteriously in their memory...
...and will lead them
to their birthplace.
In small groups,
they begin the journey upstream
to go lay eggs
and perpetuate the species.
The bears will meet them
at their destination.
So, from the mountains
and the forests
where they took shelter,
from the valleys
where they grazed,
from everywhere,
they head to the best rivers
for fishing.
They walk for days,
following the trails left
by generations of bears
before them.
The young bear is there,
ready to fish.
He mustn't make
the same mistake as last year,
when he failed
to eat enough fish.
The mother and her cubs
are there too.
Then the huge males arrive.
Experience has taught them
to be patient
and not run around.
They know how to wait
for the right moment
to make sure
the salmon don't get away.
The tiny baby fish,
born the previous year,
nibble on pieces of fish
stuck between the bear's paws.
For once, something small
eats something big.
The bears have one objective
this summer -
to stuff themselves with
salmon, as many as 50 a day,
and stock as much fat as
possible in order to survive.
That won't be a problem
for the huge males,
but it's not the case for the
mothers and the younger bears.
The fish are too agile
and the river is too wide.
It's extremely difficult
to fish
and keep other bears away
at the same time.
The cubs are carefree
and oblivious to the pressure
their mothers endure.
But why would they fish
for themselves
if they don't have to?
This is what all mothers
and cubs experience.
In the morning,
the males search for salmon
again at the edge of the river.
They don't have any cubs
to look after
and will keep all the fish
they catch for themselves.
The mothers must find
a better place to fish,
a spot where there are
more salmon, easier to catch.
The higher upriver
the salmon swim,
the more tired they become,
so the mothers follow them,
moving away from
the mouth of the river.
We ride on the snowy hills
Under the moonlight
The cols of the valleys
Fade in the night
Come where
the rocky mountain streams
Meet the sky
Where the rivers run so clear
And cold...
Still further upriver,
there's a place
with more salmon
than any other place
in the world.
Lake Kurile.
Millions of salmon
cross this lake every summer.
The bears of Kamchatka know it,
so they arrive at the lake
hundreds at a time.
We fight against thunder
Struggle with storms
And dance in the fires
Of willows and thorns
Oh, where the future
meets the past
I will ride on
Where the ancient tales
are right
I'll Call
Riding, riding
We'll reach the holy fields
So far away, so far away
Riding, riding...
The young bear
is at the lake too.
He can finally catch
his first fish.
But there's still
the same problem.
When you find a good spot,
you can rarely enjoy it alone,
and as bears don't like
close contact,
tension mounts quickly
between the mothers.
The tension will become worse
over the course
of the next few days,
when the largest group of bears
in the world
gather at the lake.
The mothers eventually
get into the water...
...where they can fish in peace.
Well, not exactly in peace.
As soon as the mothers
manage to catch a fish,
the cubs steal it away
from them.
The food isn't shared equally.
The weaker bears often end up
without fish.
Half of all bear cubs die
before the age of two
due to brother-and-sister
rivalry, hunger,
disease and accidents.
A mother bear spends her entire
day taking care of her cubs,
and it's only in the evening,
when she's sure
that they have eaten enough,
that she can finally
fish for herself.
The young bear
has found a calm spot
away from the mothers
and all the commotion.
But does he really fish
like an adult,
or does he still play
like a cub?
He's now at the crucial age
where he can spend his first
year alone, without his mother,
learning to survive on his own.
He's young,
so any female his age
that comes near him
is a distraction
from the task at hand.
It's likely the first time
he's felt the urge to mate.
He still has a lot to learn
about that, too.
But when he does,
he will no longer just ensure
his own survival.
He will also contribute to the
perpetuation of his species.
A mother bear arrives.
She is young,
and, as usual with the first
litter, she only has one cub.
She'll pamper, feed
and protect him
until he reaches the age
where he can venture out alone.
Then he will leave her.
It's the last summer
he'll spend with his mother.
So he enjoys it.
He plays and runs around
in the waves and the wind,
savouring every moment.
Summer is almost over.
Seasons change quickly in
Kamchatka - except for winter.
That lasts for months.
The bears have to begin
preparing for it now.
The salmon continue
their journey.
Thousands of them swim upriver,
driven by
an irrepressible instinct
to get to their birthplace
and spawn.
Once they're in fresh water,
they stop eating and drinking.
Their bodies
change mysteriously,
becoming deformed and reddened,
and then they rot.
The river where life begins
is now the river
that causes their death.
Some are so exhausted...
...they just give up.
Others continue the fight,
swimming against all the odds.
Those who still have
the energy to swim
will lay millions of eggs
that will become
millions of salmon,
and they will come back to
the same place in five years -
a never-ending cycle of life.
For the bears,
the red salmon are a sign
that the end is near -
the end of summer,
the end of salmon season.
Now they know that they have to
eat as fast as they can,
stuff themselves,
and feed their cubs.
They must get ready
for the coming winter.
So all around the lake,
they fish relentlessly,
pressed for time.
Downstream, all the salmon
are gone from the big river.
The bears head for the lake.
The aggressive yearlings
ready to fight
and start trouble.
But there's not many fish
left here either.
So all the bears gather where
there are still a few salmon.
The young male,
the mothers and the cubs
are lost amongst
the teenage bears
and the hordes of other bears.
Soon the bears will have to go
beyond the trees,
further upstream into the
smaller branches of the river
to find the last
remaining salmon.
There are so many bears... few fish.
Bears are solitary
most of the year.
They're not used to
close contact.
Here, they're crowded together.
But the only real solidarity
is between the mothers
and their cubs.
In the middle of irritated
and aggressive bears
trying to feed one last time,
the mother has to fish
and keep an eye on her cubs
at the same time.
And, as if that wasn't enough,
two orphans with scraggly fur
They don't have a mother
to fish for them.
The only way they get food
is by stealing it
from younger cubs.
Unlike the males, the mother
not only has to fight for fish,
but must defend
and protect her cubs.
It is this instinct alone
that makes her even stronger.
The young bear feels lost
in the middle of
all this aggression.
But he seems more interested
in the young female
than in finding food.
The bears that couldn't -
or didn't want to -
fight until the very end
feed off of rotten fish
along the river.
Unlike the young bear, survival
is their number one priority.
The salmon's arduous journey
has come to an end.
One generation dies
so that another may live.
Other salmon will come back
and other bears
will feed on them.
As long as the salmon continue
to make their long journey,
the bears will fiercely rule
this wild land
still untouched by man.
That's the life of a bear,
with all its sublime absurdity,
because, actually, all they do
is spend their lives
trying to survive winter,
recover from winter,
prepare for winter,
and doing it all over again.
But what could be more
beautiful than these creatures,
their serenity?
And the strength, tenacity,
persistence and determination
they employ to survive?
A few days later, the rivers
are completely empty.
The young bear is looking for
salmon, but they're all gone.
There is nothing left
to fish for.
Did he eat enough?
Will he live through
another winter?
Maybe he now realises
that all of his time and energy
should have been devoted
to one thing -
The fog hangs over the lake.
One by one, the last bears
leave to go upland
and prepare their dens
for the winter.
The young bear hesitates,
but he knows
he has to leave too.
Only the young mother
and her cub remain.
They'll spend another winter
Then they'll have to separate.
The cub will leave.
He will have to learn
how to survive on his own,
like the young bear.
It's the law of the species.
So he enjoys
the tenderness and affection
that one day soon
will disappear,
along with his mother.
Walking in your dreams
In the sky
I'll be there when you rise
Wake you up with roses
Little star
Now you are safe in my arms
Walk on the sound
On the light
Up above the world so high
But night shall break
And we'll be fine
I'll be there
when you rise.
A few weeks later,
it's winter again in Kamchatka.
Beneath the thick blanket
of snow,
tucked away in their dens,
20,000 bears
are patiently waiting
to go back to the lakes,
to the mountains,
to the rivers,
to their land -
the land of the bears.