Le Jaguar

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Le Jaguar
Directed by Francis Veber
Written by Francis Veber
Starring Jean Reno
Patrick Bruel
Harrison Lowe
Patricia Velásquez
Release date
9 October 1996
Running time
98 minutes
Country France
Language French

Le Jaguar is a 1996 French film directed by Francis Veber starring Jean Reno, Patrick Bruel, Harrison Lowe, and Patricia Velásquez. A shaman from the South American rain forest visits France for a public relations (PR) campaign. In a hotel's elevator in Paris he meets a French good-for-nothing named Perrin he is fascinated with. He follows Perrin to his flat and although Perrin is not very enthusiastic about so much interest in his person, he lets the shaman spend the night in his flat. After an official meeting on the next day being part of the PR campaign the shaman suffers from a heart attack. Hardly being able to speak and lying in a hospital bed he demands to see Perrin. The latter is not very interested in meeting the shaman again. However it looks like it is too late for animosities as the shaman and Perrin seem to be tied mentally somehow since they've met in the elevator. Le Jaguar is Francis Veber's throwback to 1950s-1960s on-location comedy adventures, meaning there is not much comedy and not much adventure but the casting and production values carry the viewer along regardless. Patrick Bruel needs to get out of Paris when his gambling debts are sold to East European gangsters, so agrees to go with Jean Reno's environmental activist to the Amazon to find a local chief's soul (long story) only to discover his real self in between being possessed by the spirit of the chief.


In this fast-paced French comedy, a gambler, anxious to escape the thugs who pursue him after her reneged on a bet, mistakenly agrees to enter the safety of the Amazon jungle with an ethnologist's son to search for the missing soul of an ailing Indian. Perrin's ordeal begins in an elevator where he encounters Campana, the French scientist who was raised in the distant jungle, and his companion Wanu, an Amazon shaman who has left his remote home to help Campana campaign on the rain forest's behalf. When Wanu, wearing little more than feathers, skins and a plate in his lip, suddenly tweak's the nose of Perrin and proclaims him the "chosen one", Perrin is naturally surprised. He is more surprised when Wanu shows up in his lavish apartment that night, drugs him and covers him with ritual markings thereby creating a magical link between them. The next day Wanu suffers a heart attack that he interprets as the theft of his soul. He beckons Perrin beside him and insists that he go to the jungle and find his soul, which has taken the form of a jaguar. Unfortunately for Perrin, the dense jungle proves to be far more dangerous than any gambler's henchmen and comical chaos ensues as he struggles to survive.