This hauntingly beautiful film follows wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and travel writer Sylvain Tesson as they comb Tibet in search of the elusive snow leopard, Kevin Maher told The Times. In “excitingly immediate footage,” we see the couple encounter bears, foxes, hawks and bharals (aka blue sheep) while engaging in “deeply serious debates” about “the nature of seeing and being and the hopelessness of humanity.” . All of this is set to “a soulful, plaintive score” by Warren Ellis and Nick Cave. The film is located “somewhere between David Attenborough and Samuel Beckett” – our two protagonists “waited endlessly”; But her and the viewer’s patience pays off when the film’s star, the camera-shy leopard, “finally shows up.”
The Velvet Queen was originally intended for television, Brian Viner told the Daily Mail, but was deemed “so cinematic” that it was released on the big screen. TV’s loss is cinema’s gain, as the photography here is ‘truly stunning’. I saw it at the end of a long day and was roused from my sleepiness by the “incredibly powerful image” of a “lonely snow leopard, lean and elegant, standing on a ledge, weighing his options and looking anything but vulnerable.” .
The film certainly looks exceptional, Wendy Ide said in The Observer, but I could have done without the “highly ornamental narrative.” For Tesson, the quest for the leopard is a “deeply spiritual” experience (“Prehistory cried,” he says at one point, “and every tear was a yak”). But if you can handle the voiceover, I dare you not to be “moved” by this film, which captures the “gruff drama” of Tibet and the “grand indifference of the natural world.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/culture/film/956660/film-review-the-velvet-queen Movie Review: The Velvet Queen