Wolf Totem (Chinese: 狼图腾, French: Le Dernier Loup) is a 2015 drama film based on the 2004 Chinese semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Jiang Rong. Directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, the Chinese-French co-production features a Chinese student who is sent to Inner Mongolia to teach shepherds and instead learns about the wolf population, which is under threat by a government apparatchik.
The Beijing Forbidden City Film Corporation initially sought to hire a Chinese director, but filming humans with real wolves was considered too difficult. New Zealand director Peter Jackson was approached, but production did not take place. Annaud, whose 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet is banned in China, had his personal ban lifted and was hired to direct Wolf Totem. The film was produced under China Film Group and French-based Reperage. The French director, who had worked with animals on other films, acquired a dozen wolf pups in China and had them trained for several years by Andrew Simpson, a Canadian-based animal trainer. With a production budget of US$38 million, Annaud filmed Wolf Totem in Inner Mongolia, where the book is set, for over a year.
The film premiered at the European Film Market on February 7, 2015. It was released in China on February 19, 2015, for the start of the Chinese New Year, and it was released in France on February 25, 2015. It was originally reported that the film had been selected as the Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. However, when the final list was announced by the Academy, China's submission was listed as Go Away Mr. Tumor by Han Yan.