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Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Lucky Elephant

Lisa Leeman, the director,  took ten years to make this wonderful documentary starring  David Balding, and his elephant, "Flora," who was not only the star of the circuses he created, but his companion and friend. "Flora" became like a daughter to him. With the best of intentions, he had adopted the orphaned Flora when she was  about two years old. As Balding became older (65), he realized he had to provide for Flora's future (as she would surely outlive him), and the film portrays his search for the proper environment for her, including  failed attempts to take her to Africa, and various Zoos.  I learned a lot about elephants - and human behavior -- from David, as well as from Carol Buckley, the owner of an Elephant Sanctuary who, again, with the best of intentions had her own ideas of what Flora needed, contrary to David's opinion. You hear from Mrs. Balding ( a lovely woman), and various elephant caregivers. The Writer, Cristina Colissimo (who shared Producer credits as well) has Balding narrating.  According to a review I read, Leeman says that David didn't really need a script, having told the story of what might be called, "A Ten Thousand Pound Love Story," so many times through the years.   (I stopped going to circuses a long time ago, because I felt the way the animals were treated, and trained, just wasn't right.  But David's way with Flora was based on love, not fear.)  Absolutely a FOUR STAR film.  (P.S.  I think Carol was wrong, and David was right. But no one asked me.)

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