Tag Archives: Elephant

[VFF ’16] When Elephants Were Young, Their Role in Asian Societies, A Review

6 Feb

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Victoria Film Festival 2016

Feb 08, 7:00pm
Star Cinema
9842 Third St,
Sidney, BC

Feb 10, 6:30pm 
Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinemas
780 Yates Street
Victoria, BC

One night in modern Bangkok will not make any member of the native Thai tribes heralding their mammoth pet around the streets humble after watching When Elephants Were Young. This documentary is made by local filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark, and narrated by William Shatner. It is excellent at showing how these creatures should be treated with respect instead of used. This gentle beast is revered, but sadly the old traditions are seen without truly understanding where the native culture of keeping them “as pets” was once okay. Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” is one way to sum up the how the film moves and this film nicely reveals where attitudes are headed.

World Elephant Day (August 12, 2016) is championing preventing the Asian elephant from going extinct. Large steps are being made by the government to see the animal get saved. Ever since they got domesticated for warfare during Ancient Greek times, if not used in jungle warfare in India, their relationship with man has been an uneasy one. Are they working animals, creatures to be paraded around in zoos, or what? This film looks at their roles in human society today, focusing specifically in the relationship Wok, a mahout (elephant guardian), has with Nong Mai, an elephant he’s taken care of for at least a decade. He’s part of the Kui tribe and they have to adapt to modern times.

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