As night falls, Marc hides his microphones in the undergrowth and wanders away into the woods. All night, ambient sounds (breathing, howling, crackling, chirping…) are recorded. Later in his studio, Marc reworks them into soundscapes.
Like his father who used to tape-record him when he was a child, Marc captures his daughters’ voices, and wishes to stir the same "sound-hunting" passion in Lucie, his elder daughter. Curious of her dad’s night forays, she often accompanies him in the forest where, at a close distance in the dark, bellowing deer can be heard.
Marc shares his sound library with other artists. He is currently working with composer Christian Zanési on a piece of electro-acoustic music.
Trust me, you can choose this film with your eyes closed! Personally, I put on my headphones so that I could hear even better, and settled down to listen and watch this incredible film about recording and capturing the sounds of nature. The peace and tranquillity can be seen on the face of the person recording and those listening. Evolution has led each animal to find its own sound niche that doesn’t disturb others and allows it to address only its fellow creatures, as if wavelengths had been distributed by a democratic organisation run by Darwin. But in fact, the documentary shows us quite the opposite, that 19th century thinking and classification of the universe was far too inflexible and obstinate. Everything needs to be rethought, and not just from a scientific point of view. The film encourages harmonious, fertile cooperation between a whole range of artistic, technical and scientific disciplines. And it encourages us to think about our representations of nature. Will it inspire vocations? How can we comprehend that a frozen lake at night shrieks like a taut steel wire?
Pierre Oscar Lévy
In 1989, Serge Steyer made his first film, Ried, an award-winning drama screened at numerous festivals. He then turned to documentaries, his favourite topics being portraits of artists and intellectuals, spiritual questions and Alsace, his native region. In 1995, he made two films for the ARTE TV channel about new technologies used for democracy, Questions sur la démocratie électronique and Amsterdam, ville numérique. His movie Huis clos pour un quartier (2007) re-examined local democracy. In 2015, he co-wrote The Salamander Complex with Stéphane Manchematin. Three times winner of a SCAM Etoile, his film In the Stillness of Sounds, co-directed with Manchematin, was awarded the 2020 prize for Audiovisual Work of the Year. He also writes articles for Films en Bretagne and is the editorial director of KuB, Brittany’s online cultural media site.
Stéphane Manchematin has been interested in documentary forms and writing for 30 years. He wrote, produced, directed and edited documentaries first for television (Arte, France Télévisions), then for radio (France Culture) and cinema. His taste for sound led him to make the sound recording of his films co-directed with Serge Steyer The Salamander Complex (2014) and In the Stillness of Sounds (2018), presented in world premiere at Cinéma du Réel, then selected in around thirty French and international festivals. This film won the audiovisual work of the year award in 2020.