This film is based on novels by Cecile Aubry that were made into a French TV series in the 1960’s and a Japanese animated series in the 1980’s. The setting is 1943 when the Germans were watching the border in the French Alps between France and Switzerland. They are stationed here to prevent people, especially Jewish refugees, from crossing into neutral Switzerland. Sebastien lives in a small village with his grandfather Cesar and his aunt Angelina, Cesar is a shepherd and Angelina is a baker. Cesar believes a large stray dog they call ‘the beast’ has been killing sheep. Cesar and some other residents of the village go into the mountains to hunt down the dog. Sebastien has been with the dog, he has named her Belle and he knows she has not been killing the sheep. Her owner mistreated her and she doesn’t like men but she is Sebastien’s friend. He goes to save her and he sees that she has a bullet wound above her back leg. He visits Dr. Guillaume and they go together to see Belle. Sebastien gives Belle a shot to stop the infection she has from the wound.
The DVD I viewed was made in French but dubbed in English, it is a simple story with some complications about a boy and a dog. The scenery is very beautiful in the different seasons. There is a lot of wildlife including marmots, rabbits, boar, elk, wolves and chamois. A chamois is an agile, goat like antelope native to the high mountains of Europe but now rare in some areas. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
104 min, Adventure directed by Nicolas Naier with Felix Bossuet, Tcheky Karyo, Margaux Chatelier, Dimitri Storoge, Andreas Pietschmann, Urbain Cancelier, Mehdi El Glaoui, Paloma Palma, Karine Adover, Loic Varraut.
Note: Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 89% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 543 reviews, Letterboxd 3.3* out of 5*.
Special Note: Belle is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog also known as a Great Pyrenees in North America. They are strong willed, gentle, confident, patient and affectionate. There is another different breed known as the Pyrenean Mastiff. There is a sequel to this film titled Belle & Sebastian: The Adventure Continues 2015 and there is also Scottish band with the name Belle and Sebastian.