A film of few words and entrancing images, this tells of a villager who follows his father to become a mahout, working the declining population of Indian elephants. Things go awry when the Forestry Commission sells off his elephant to a private buyer (cue disingenuous mumblings about buyers cheating the government), but Gautier's film is less about story than mood (as measured and leisurely as an elephant's ambling) and message: the usual (quite justified) ecological truisms about skills and customs vanishing beneath the plough of progress. That said, it's a slightly dubious argument. While man and beast certainly work well together, one shouldn't forget the animals are forced to do so, by and purely for the benefit of humans. Still, the movie has a fairytale simplicity,the framing is superb, and the lead pachyderm deserves an Oscar (not to mention his freedom).