The Bear and the Yogi


Duration : 52 '
Support : Digital Betacam - stéréo - 16/9 - 4/3 


Director : Bruno Vienne

see trailer 



The bear, with its strangely human silhouette, has long been the inspiration for myths and legends in many countries. Driven away by humans and urbanisation, bear populations have greatly diminished, but the image of the bear is a lasting presence in the collective imagination.


In less than a century, the wild fauna situation has been turned upside down. Just a few decades ago, humans were living with the impression of being surrounded by wild animals. Today, the opposite is true: it is humans who surround the last wild bastions of fauna.
Nevertheless, there are some peoples who have always lived in a natural environment and have established a special relationship with bears. This is what our film proposes to reveal.


In Andra Pradesh, India, arid plains in the dry season, with scattered rocky hills. Granite cliffs dominating the hilltops give the scenery a lunar appearance. Enormous rocks in which water, wind, heat and cold have created innumerable cavities over centuries of erosion. Today, these caves with their narrow entrails have become refuges for yogis and bears.


This is a sun-scorched region where, since the beginning of time, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages have always followed the same way of life. The same buffaloes, the same oxen have always drawn the rudimentary ploughs, gouging out furrows in the red, rocky soil.


Each year, when the abundant rains of the monsoon begin to fall, the farmers who share the arable land gather for the seed sowing.


The forests which once formed dense jungle have been cut down by the British colonists. The elephants disappeared along with the trees; the only shadows now are those thrown by the granite hills and the few oases planted after the onset of desertification.
The only crops suited to this infertile soil are peanuts, millet, barley and a little rice.
The bears living in the hills often come down to help themselves to a share of the crops. The farmers drive them away with stones, despite their animistic beliefs.


Every now and then, humans and bears rub shoulders without really appreciating it.
Sometimes the bears attack the villagers, injuring or even killing them.
The only humans who have no fear of bears are considered demigods by the population: they are the yogis.
The yogis live in the heart of bear territory and use more or less the same caves for shelter.
Completely immobile as they meditate, spines perfectly straight, the yogis with their slow gestures do not frighten the big black-furred mammals. Often, a bear will lie down and sleep within just a few paces of the sages.



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