Born in Draveil, south of Paris, France, Annaud attended the prestigious L’Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques. He graduated at the age of 20 and quickly achieved success directing commercials. Two years later he was sent to the French Cameroons as an Army Film Director by the National Service.
While in Africa, he trained locals to make their own movies while working on a series of educational films for the natives. The experience convinced him to film his first feature, Black and White in Color (1976), in Africa, and he took a year to raise the money. His hard work paid off with an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1978.
Annaud’s follow-up, Coup de Tête (or Hothead) (1979), established his reputation in France, and his next film Quest for Fire (1981), a unique story of primitive man set 80,000 years ago, won French Cesar Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. He won the Cesar Award again directing Sean Connery in an adaptation of Umberto Eco’s challenging… read more
Purely from a technical POV, it's an amazing accomplishment. This grizzly bear on screen is far more believable than anything a digital coven can produce, yes, even in 3-D. Of course, I'm not sure a purely technical POV isn't just an apologist's strategy to champion a so-so film.