This full-length fiction film tells the life of an extraordinary man, Gérard Ménatory. He has devoted his life to the rehabilitation of the wolf. He fights for the reintroduction and the protection of this demonised animal.
The film will be based on Gérard Ménatory’s latest book which is yet to be published and which is in a way his testament !
A wild youngster, Gérard grew up in a village in the Cevennes region of France, at the foot of Mount Aigoual. His father, a schoolteacher and anti-establishment hermit, initiated him into life in a natural environment. Gérard spent his entire childhood exploring the steep wooded hills of the region. Through observing and collecting many animals, he learned to understand, love and respect wildlife. When he had completed his studies, he became a journalist with a passionate interest in ecology. He travelled throughout the world to observe wolves in their natural habitat.
Several years later, he created the Gevaudan Wolf Park in Lozère, where, for the first time since their extermination, wolves were reintroduced into France. Fascinated by this animal which crystallises his passions, Gérard has spent night after night observing the wolves living in packs. Recognised and respected by the scientific community, Gérard’s field work has had international repercussions.
Draft shooting script
A coffin carried by 4 men; a young woman walks ahead of them and opens a creaking gate onto an immense park partly covered by forest. All is white, big snowflakes are falling. The footsteps of the people make a crunching sound in the blanketed silence and their breath is transformed into fog. The cortege continues towards the stand of fir trees that divides the park into two parts: the hilly plain and the woods. Now they are putting down their load, resting it on four boulders. A man speaks:
“Dad, we are here now fulfilling your last wish, to spend a night in the park among the wolves before we bury your coffin in the cemetery in Mende!”
The blizzard begins to blow and the snow swirls about; the people hurry towards the gate which closes behind them.
A howling sound is heard above the wind’s fury. The five people turn their heads and look together towards the woods. The howling intensifies and is followed by another howl, then a chorus of wolves joins the bedlam of the storm.
“This is their final homage to Dad !” murmurs the woman. The group continues along the snow-covered trail to the village.
Abandoned in the wilderness, the oak coffin is gradually covered in snow.
The howling ceases, the wind drops.
On velvet paws, moving with caution, the first wolf appears and approaches the strange object.
The wolf rolls in the snow a few metres away from the coffin, other more timid wolves emerge here and there from behind the fir trees.
The alpha male, all white with snow, is joined by his female. They couple. An extreme close-up shot, filmed with a tele lens, fixes on the frame-filling eye of the alpha wolf.
End of the opening titles
(Opens with tracking aerial shots through wilderness scenery in the Cevenne Mountains)
A boy runs with a large German shepherd dog through the scrub of the Cevenne Mountains. Gérard Ménatory is ten years old; he wears the black shorts that were in fashion in the 1920s. The dog gallops past him and heads towards a shrub. It has picked up the scent of something; a wounded eagle flapping one wing. The child calms the dog and leans over the bird. He takes off his shirt and ties it around the raptor’s head, then immobilises its talons with a piece of string and a branch.