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When Elephants Were Young (2016)

A young man and his young elephant street beg in gritty Bangkok amid the controversial elephant business that threatens their survival, until the opportunity comes to release the elephant ... See full summary »


Patricia Sims

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Complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Narrator (voice)


A young man and his young elephant street beg in gritty Bangkok amid the controversial elephant business that threatens their survival, until the opportunity comes to release the elephant to the wild. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

elephant | f rated | thailand | See All (3) »


They never forget.




Official Sites:

Official site


Canada | Thailand



Release Date:

12 August 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elephants Never Forget See more »

Filming Locations:


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Did You Know?


Running Up That Hill
Written by Kate Bush
Performed by Placebo
Courtesy of Capitol Records LLC
Under Exclusive License from Universal Music Canada Inc.
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User Reviews

A resounding tribute to elephants
21 June 2016 | by fdbirdieSee all my reviews

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will. Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs. I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward. " – Charlotte Bronte Anyone who has ever met, or had the privilege of working with Patricia Sims, would understand how the quote above explains the inner being of the woman. I had the honour to be invited to view the screening of her documentary film, "When Elephants Were Young" which debuted at the 2015 Whistler Film Festival this past weekend. The movie plot dealt with the extraordinary, yet complex life, of a mahout and his elephant living and surviving in Thailand. The juxtaposition of their lives was intertwined through a series of emotional and thought provoking scenes. Grappling with the every day need to exist and find work in a land where things are changing rapidly, the mahout had to make a heart breaking decision to sell his elephant after years of working with it, in order to survive. Coming away from the film, I was awakened to the real life dilemmas faced by both man and animal in a world where the line between right and wrong are easily skewed by age-old cultural ideals. Patricia's portrayal of the complexities on both sides of the situation perpetuated a strong sense of empathy for the mahout, yet, at the same time, confirmed the atrocities suffered by the elephant for millennia, are slowly coming to an acknowledgement long overdo. "When Elephants Were Young" is a beautiful documentary that tears at the heart with its ability to sever the ambiguity of nature vs. man by revealing raw footage of authentic life experiences between the two. I would highly suggest taking the whole family to this movie. Lyrics by Kate Bush, resounding throughout the film, summed up the gist of the movie's non-biased theme: "And if I only could, I'd make a deal with God, And I'd get him to swap our places, Be running up that road, Be running up that hill, With no problems." Patricia Sims founded World Elephant Day in 2012. Congratulations on your outstanding film achievement Patricia. Fran Duthie, Co-­founder Elephanatics

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