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Environmental Protection While Filming Wolf Totem Worth It: Director
   2014-12-05 20:25:13    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fu

Jean-Jacques Annaud, director of the film adaptation of Wolf Totem, talks with China Radio International about shooting the film in Beijing on December 5, 2014. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Fu Yu]

by Fu Yu

Post-production of the film Wolf Totem is wrapping up and director Jean-Jacques Annaud is in Beijing to make sure the finishing touches are in place before it goes for approval.

The film was shot in Inner Mongolia with environmental protection in mind. The team went to great lengths to avoid damaging the natural environment.

For some of the scenes, the director even led the whole cast and crew up a mountain, instead of riding in vehicles, in an effort to preserve the grassland.

Although it drove up the cost of production, Annaud said it was all worth it.

"It would be unthinkable to make a movie that points to the destruction of the land and destruct ourselves. It would be a total contradiction. So of course we have to show an example that we can make a big movie without destroying this beautiful grassland. That is why we have to stop the trucks on the road and then carry the equipment by hand and sometimes by horse, but most often it's my crew that was carrying the equipment. We had to walk up the mountain every morning."

Annaud said he did it this way because it breaks his heart to see people destroy the land with cars. He wanted to make sure that they will not make the same mistake.

Annaud said he shares the same emotions towards the land and species depicted by Jiang Rong, author of the original novel the film is adapted from. The book already has had a big impact in raising people's awareness of the protection of the ecosystem. He hopes the film will step it up and encourage people to behave differently with nature.

"One of the reasons Jiang Rong wanted so badly to write this novel is emotions. Not only Inner Mongolia, but the world, may be destroyed by greed, by too much industrialization, with no respect for the pasture land and all the species. I was impressed by the novel because I share those points of view. Therefore I do hope that the movie can multiply the effects the book already has on people who have read it. "

Wolf Totem mainly depicts the differences between the lives of Mongolian nomads and the Han Chinese through the eyes of Chen Zhen, who left his home in Beijing to work in Inner Mongolia in the 1970s.

Through observing and interacting with the wolves that wander on the prairie, Chen came to understand and respect the freedom, independence and determination of the nomads.

The film adaptation of Wolf Totem is the first Chinese production shot by a foreign director. It stars actors Feng Shaofeng and Dou Xiao.

It premiers on February 19, 2015.

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