Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The Last Lions

The Last Lions Lion, the king of beats. They are magnificent, powerful, and beautiful, when you watch them in Nature on PBS or even at a Broadway musical. However, in real life, you probably want to stay far away from them just to be safe, unless you are the award-winning husband and wife filmmaker team—Beverly Joubert and Dereck Joubert—who are on a mission to save these beasts by filming them up and close and making an amazing documentary "The Last Lions" (USA 2011 | 88 min.). After four years and shot more than 200 hour long footage, the filmmakers tell a suspenseful and gripping story with breathtaking visual and haunting music on the big screen.

Narrated by Jeremy Irons's deep voice, the film takes us to the desolate Okavango Delta in Botswana, where the number of lions decreased dramatically over the last half century. This is not just a film that will take you to places where you can only dream about being there, it actually contains more drama than a Korean soap opera. It tells a heartfelt tale about a mother lion, whose name is Ma di Tau ("Mother of Lions").

Ma di Tau and her three young cubs escape other lions' aggressive attack, and camp out on a small island surrounded by a river where crocodiles hunt. Although a large herd of buffalo is close by, she faces a difficult dilemma either to go hunt for food or stay close to protect her cubs. Despite her fierce look and her tremendous power, she cannot bring down a giant buffalo as easily as one might think. Ma di Tau must go on to do what she has to do in order to survive in the trying environment, even that means she has to pay a heavy price.

Ma di Tau and her cub

It is probably a human instinct to adore furry babies—from puppies to kitties, to cubs, and even to chicks. Therefore, the film is brilliant to choose a story involving three cute playful cubs. You cannot help but to fall for them after hearing their first cry. However, the film's interpretation on these animals' behavior might be debatable, and might not be as universally agreeable as our fuzzy feeling toward those little cubs.

Regardless if you believe in the filmmakers' version of the mind of Ma di Tau, you will not forget her majesty, her bravery, her struggle, and her motherly love.

"The Last Lions" opens on Friday, March 4, 2011 at Bay Area theaters.

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