The Wolves of the East | Higashi no Ohkami (2018): “.. I could really empathize .. not that I have ever hunted..”

The Wolves of the East

“What a beautiful film. I really thought The Wolves of the East | Higashi no Ohkami (2018) was a beautiful film. The story of the film made me think of Akira Kurosawa’s film Dersu Uzala (1975) which is also about a hunter but then in Siberia. The Wolves of the East film takes place in Nara, Japan where a hunters organization has taken over the role of the wolves that went extinct in the region about 100 years ago to keep the deer population under control. The main character believes that the wolves might have survived, but he has no proof. I felt that I could really empathize with the main character, the old hunter. Not that I have ever hunted in my life. I loved seeing the film in its setting in Japan because I love Japan and I visited that country often. That’s why I loved experiencing this film’s narrative because it makes me think of my visits to that beautiful country and I have even been to Nara. The environment is super gorgeous. Full of mountains and rich in forests. Mount Yoshino is famous for its cherry blossoms and the cherries that come from it. I never knew about the wolves situation in that region though. I do know about the deer. They’ve got so many of them over there. You even see people dressed up as deer mascots. It’s very typical in the region to see that because they indeed shoot the deer to keep the population under control. Besides that, they have a lot of beautiful temples. I saw a lot of this back in the film so it was definitely done in a realistic way.”

Photo and story by Feargal Agard.