“The Snow Panther”: the art of the lookout, at the top of the Tibetan plateaus

THE OPINION OF THE “WORLD” – MUST SEE

Here is the delicate art of reading traces, silence and patience essential to watch out for animals and their invisible presence, brought to the big screen. Meeting at the top (of the Tibetan plateaus) between the wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and the traveling writer Sylvain Tesson, The Snow Leopard arrives at the right time in the theaters, as the message and the Zen-like images draw the viewer away from the end of the year 2021, weighed down by an impression of the end of the world and the rumblings of nature.

To hell with humans and their eternal thirst for domination and short-term vision: in The Snow Leopard, man makes himself very small and hides himself to allow nature and the movement of wild animals to take place, as income from time immemorial. Co-directed by Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier, the film transposes the story of the same name, published by Gallimard, which won Sylvain Tesson the Renaudot prize in 2019.

Read also A surprise Renaudot for Sylvain Tesson, awarded for his book “La Panthère des neiges”

We enter the documentary with soft steps, to the sound of the whispered voice of Vincent Munier, the film dispensing in dropper his breathtaking images. We are almost on another planet, and The Snow Leopard almost oscillate between documentary and genre film. Certain animals appear to us as ghosts, in their brown fur, wearing their ancestral horns, like wild yaks captured in magnificent abstract paintings, while one would swear that a doe is giving us a camera-gaze. Whistleblower, lesson giver? Tomorrow, she seems to tell us, animals will rule the day, at least if they still exist.

Behind the scenes

The dramaturgy of the documentary, following the thread of the conversations between the hermit photographer and the globetrotter, works in a somewhat expected way the tensions of humanity and its relationship to the exhaustion of the planet. Vincent Munier has made his childhood dreams his job, since his father gave him a camera at the age of 12, teaching him to live outdoors and overcome his fears – on a previous trip, The white wolves he had been watching for a long time had come closer to him, some physically teasing him as he took out the camera.

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In The Snow Leopard, the wait and the hideout are as important, if not more, than the screenshot. Munier discovered the snow leopard through the accounts of American biologist George B. Schaller. On his first trip to Tibet in 2011, he didn’t know what to expect. Would he see her or not?

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“The Snow Panther”: the art of the lookout, at the top of the Tibetan plateaus

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