What is Rue de Puss?

Rue de Puss is the literary and multimedia repository for all things cat - drawing from my experiences as both a veterinarian with a passion towards feline medicine and a member of a multi-cat household.

Friday, April 22, 2011

African Cats - a wonderful Mother's Day treat

I just saw a wonderful movie - the story of two real African cat families in the Masai Mara wildlife reserve in Kenya.  The first family is a pride of lions, living on the south side of a crocodile-infested river from a family of cheetahs.

The lion pride has a single sire, Fang, named for the dangling lower canine tooth injured in battle.  The champion of the story is a female cub named Mara, raised and carefully protected by her mother Leila.  On the other side of the river, Sita is pregnant and gives birth to 5 cheetah cubs.

Perhaps the fact that this is a true story, following the real life drama of "raising kids" on the African plains, lends a special credibility, even though Samuel Jackson's narrative tends to be a bit anthropomorphic, assigning black hats and white hats to villains and saints accordingly.  Despite that, the movie is very effective and affecting.

More than a nature film, this is a film about motherhood, mothering, and the maternal instinct.  My own baby sister (no longer a baby of course) once told me, from her new perspective as mother of my toddler nephew, that she suddenly understood why bears would take your head off if they even suspected you meant harm to their cubs.  In fact, I think she came to identify with - and even sympathize with - bears.

I wholly recommend this movie to anyone looking for wholesome, educational entertainment.  The scenes are tastefully done, and there is little or no blood shown.  The film masterfully works both viewer suspense and sympathy without taking advantage of it, and the audience leaves enlightened and perhaps a bit wiser.

In one early scene, the lion cubs play with a tortoise.  When they are done, the unwilling playmate, while unharmed, is helplessly left on his back.  I wondered about him through the rest of the movie, and the film makers didn't forget, either.  In the ending credits, they show him walking away.

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