Matagi (1981)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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After an old man is attacked by a bear in the snowy mountains of northern Japan, he vows to hunt down the marauder before any other villagers are hurt or killed. As his young grandson listens to his grandfather's description of the incredible size of the bear, the boy is filled with the desire to join in on the hunt. Others think the old man is simply exaggerating. The little boy is hardly ready to go on a hunt, but as the years go by, the grandfather prepares him for that eventuality. As time passes, life in the village is portrayed in all its facets -- puppies are born, dogs are trained, snowstorms are battled, the trade in animal skins continues, and rice-fields worked and harvested. Finally, the boy has the maturity and knowledge to go with his grandfather out on the hunt for the giant bear -- and the two small figures are shown silhouetted in the vast mountain landscape, put in perspective against the panorama of the natural world around them. When this extraordinary bear is killed, it will be buried in the snow as an offering to the mountain god, and not taken for its precious pelt or life-sustaining meat. This film won the Director's Prize from the UNICEF Jury for Children's Films at the 1982 Berlinale.



bear, big-game, family-in-danger, grandfather, hunting