Greetings all! Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season. I’m talking about Oscar-bait season of course. Did everyone’s grandmothers see the Book Thief? All my films this month have been sad and serious with a “great deal” of “Oscar potential.” Keeping that going this week with a wonderful title from a wonderful Tigs.
We open in the past as a Native American infant sits alone in the woods by a stream. It’s mother is by the water filling a jug. Behind him we see a large bear begin to approach. The infant begins to cry and we see the mother drop the water and start coming towards it. The woman begins to sing a song quietly and the bear stops. She stands in between the child and the bear and continues to sing. The bear turns and walks off.
We fade in on the present as a preteen Native American boy, Matt, walking along a mid-western road. A cop car pulls up along side him. The deputy tells him that he got a call to go pick up his father at the bar who is causing trouble again. He tells Matt that he should call if him or his mother ever need help. Matt is quiet and runs on home and into his room. After a bit the deputy returns dragging the father into the house and drops him, passed out, onto the couch.
Matt and his mother quietly move around the house. Matt sits outside on the porch and hears the couch creak and his father cough. He runs inside and into his room. He sits on his bed clutching his knees to his chest. We hear his mother scream from downstairs and things crash. He rocks back and forth a bit. The commotion gets even louder and we hear the growl and yell of a bear from downstairs. The growling gets louder and the door swings open to a bear charging through the door.
The next morning he’s walking down the road again obviously in pain. The deputy pulls up to the boy again looking worried. The boy says he is fine and refuses to roll up his sleeves or lift his shirt. the deputy tells him that a lot of people lost their job plant the plant shut down and they are scared. it makes them do bad things but there is help for them. The boy runs off into a train yard.
He meets an old Indian man Who asks him his name, his real name. Matt tells him iris real name is Mato. The old man tells him that his name means bear. That he is as strong boy. He tells him the story of the bear song we saw in the beginning. He teaches Matt the song.
That night the sounds of violence erupt again downstairs. Matt sits on the bed singing the bear song but the happenings downstairs only continue and he starts to hear the bear. He sings a bit louder and opens the door to his room. He still sings as he makes his way down the stairs and sees the bear attacking his mother. He runs away.
The boy returns to the train yard and screams for the old man. He yells that the song didn’t work, the bear was not scared off. The old man is no where to be found and the boy leaves angry. He heads home and can hear the bear upstairs and his mother crying. He sings the bear song a bit more but as it is not doing anything he stops and calls the deputy. He heads upstairs to his parents bedroom to find his mother cowering from the bear. He shouts the song loudly as he steps between his mother and the bear. He’s yelling the song as loud as he can and the bear becomes his father again. His father steps back and turns to leave as he sees a bear between himself and his wife. His father is met on his way out by the deputy who takes him away as the boy sits, holding his mother, quietly singing to her.
The boy is walking down the road happily and sees the old man. He tells him that the bear song didn’t work. It did not make his mother safe, that he had to save her. The old man laughs at the boy. He tells him he got the story all wrong. He explains that the song isn’t to rid the bear. The song calls the spirit of all bears into you for courage. The song is suppose to give him the strength to stop the bear, to become a Mato himself. The boy walks off and heads home, greeted warmly by his mother. He lays in bed as she kisses him goodnight. As she shuts the door the camera turns as we see in the bed, a huge peaceful bear sleeping soundly.