L'OURS is unusual in avoiding many of the conventions of Disney live-action animal films and creating a convincing presentation of its subject. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud continues the naturalistic motifs introduced in his earlier Quest For Fire, in which all animals, human and otherwise, seek their place within their environment. The cinematography is first-rate, and one marvels at the patience that it must have taken to produce such a film, even when we know that some of the events have been staged. The film was a surprise hit internationally but was largely unloved by critics, one of whom called Annaud a "mud and guts director." Indeed, major credit for the film's success should be shared with cinematographer Philippe Rousselot and film editor Noëlle Boisson.