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The Fox and the Child

animal, nature, attitude, fox, vixen, girl, child

(Le Renard et l'enfant by Luc Jacquet)

A spectacular and very impressive film about nature and our attitude to it.

The story, as we understand, is about a young girl who meets a fox in the forest and decides to make friends with it. At first consideration we easily think that it may be a nice tale for children. But the film starts, we begin to watch it and as it advances, we step by step change this opinion and draw the following conclusions:

First, that it is not a tale.

Second, that it is not really for children.

Third, that it is not nice at all.

At the beginning everything seems all right, even captivating. The girl spends long hours in the forest observing animals, following their footprints, and learning many things about the enthralling world of the mountain forests. She has patience, she is modest and tactful, respects natural environment and takes care not to cause any damage to it. How lovely, one can say, every child should be like that, and we shall have no reason to worry about nature anymore. But after a while, as months are passing and winter changes into springtime, she finds the animal whom she likes so much. Moreover, the fox - who turns out to be a vixen with a litter of about five newborn cubs, bringing them up alone because her mate was poisoned - slowly accepts her presence and one day allows the girl to touch her.

From then on the modest, tactful and patient child is becoming selfish, demanding, and even cruel to the animal. Not to an animal whom she finds ugly, dreadful or disgusting but an animal whom she likes and greatly admires for its beauty, its graceful movements, its innocent friendliness and its startling struggles for life. The girl wants to take the vixen on a lead, tries to force her to play childish games with her, and eventually closes the animal in her room. Fright drives the vixen mad, she is rushing up and down, tumbling and breaking things, making painful sounds, and finally jumps through the closed window, getting seriously injured, and remains there dying.
There is no other human character in the film, no one beside the girl who would influence her behaviour either in a positive or in a negative way. Of course it is said that she has parents but they are never seen. The reason is obviously that the film intends to show a child’s (or a human being’s) own, raw and maybe instinctive urge to possess a loved creature, and even mercilessly sacrifice it for the sake of possessing it.

At the end of the film the girl is already a mother who tells her story to her little son. She remarks, indeed, that we have to love, not to possess. But there is not a word about, not the slightest hint to that she made a mistake those days, that she committed a serious error. I missed it. Instead, it was said that people and foxes never really could make friends. Yes they could - it just takes a more unselfish and more understanding attitude toward the beautiful and valuable creatures of nature.

Apart from all this, the film is very much worth to see. There are magnificent, breathtaking scenes, depicting nature and animals in a sincere and unbiased way. Nature is beautiful, fabulous, and at the same time majestic and threatening, too. The behaviour of the animals in the film is quite natural all the time. A remarkable scene is, for example, the one where the little girl tries to protect the vixen from the wolves. Those animals respond to her 'tricks' just as if wolves did in any forest, without blood-thirsty attacks, and without an unjustified fear from a child either. They only become surprised, and being uncertain about what to do, walk away.
Published: 2008-04-09
Author: Emilia Kliment

About the author or the publisher
I have various qualifications and experiences. I spent many years with horse riding and horse training as well as studying animal behaviour, and also many years with practising and teaching herbalism and other alternative therapies. I have written tons of articles for about 30 years (animals; health; martial arts; etc.) and six books. I also translated and edited plenty of books. I practise and teach aikido, and I am interested in spiritual and esoteric disciplines, too.

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