Tuesday, April 04, 2006

La Planète Blanche

Sunday morning we walked down to Rue Mouffetard for coffee and lunch, as we had done 6 weeks earlier. Unfortunately as the weather improved around 1pm and the larger crowds were starting to descend, the coffee roaster closed up and turned everyone away, so it was just an outdoor pub-lunch for us. We walked on towards Montparnasse, but as we reached Port-Royal RER station I thought that we'd enough walking for the day and it was time to try out RER hospitality for dogs. So we slipped into the station, I put Bondi's new muzzle on, and it wasn't long before we reached Les Halles again. No dramas really, but I think people are more apt to be frightened by a muzzled dog, and they don't realise it's obligataire on the RER.

In the early evening I went to see a new documentary film on Arctic wildlife: La Planète Blanche. The narration (which I parsed as "the mother polar bear ... the mother caribou ....") is completely secondary to the amazing photography: mother polar bear suckling her young in an ice cave, a group of narwhals surfacing like musketeers slapping swords in the air, beluga whales revolving quietly under the ice. The official website has a photo gallery and trailers.

The music by Bruno Coulais, was much more appealing than that for the earlier must-see French wildlife documentary (which I saw here in 2002) Le Peuple Migrateur* (Winged Migration). It had some of the grandiosity of Nigel Westlake's score for the Australian IMAX film Antarctica, plus some middling to good vocal tracks using an Inuit vocaliste. I think I have a weakness for scores for films about cold places, as I also love Vangelis' bracing work for the Japanese Antarctica (1988). I've already mentioned that this has been Disney-fied as Eight Below (but unfortunately I've not heard anything memorable in my sampling of Mark Isham's score). In the decade preceeding Chariots of Fire, Vangelis did a number of scores for wildlife documentaries by Frederic Rossif for French television. These were fashioned into the albums L'Apocalypse des Animaux, Opera Sauvage and La Fete Sauvage. There are moments on the first of these that for me evoke the beginnings of life on earth.

*Coulais is also credited with the music for - I'm not kidding - Le Making of Le Peuple Migrateur. "Making of" is one of the many Anglicisms that have crept in, like the indespensible "le weekend" or the confusing apostrophes used to imply ownership. French doesn't have an apostrophe-s to indicate something like Mike's blog. It's always the blog of Mike. But you'll see fashionable épicier's apost'rophe's' on store signs and window displays all over Paris.

I see from IMDB, that Coulais also scored several other films I've enjoyed: Microcosmos (another wondrous nature film), Vidocq (which beat George Lucas' Star Wars franchise to the punch with being the first all-digital movie) and The Crimson Rivers (OK it was a slight disappointment, but I can watch Vincent Cassel in anything).

1 comment:

  1. i enjoy Coulais's music so much
    he composes several different kinds ov mosic and everything he produces or composes is just crazily appealing
    i deceded to buy every simgle cd of his