Rencontres Montagnes et Sciences: Review

On Friday, November 8th and Saturday, November 9th, the Palais des Sports welcomed the sixth edition of the Rencontres Montagnes et Sciences in Grenoble. This event, organized by the Montagne et Sciences association, aims to validate researchers’ work and mountaineering experience by showcasing short adventure movies. The association was created by CNRS researchers Eric Larose and Maurine Montagnat, and, for the latest edition, seven films were broadcasted.

Entrée Ouest du Palais des Sports pour accéder aux Rencontres Montagnes et Sciences

The Rencontres are interesting in that they are planned for schoolchildren as well as adults. The first day is set on a school day on purpose: this way teachers can take their classes to the event during the afternoon. On Saturday, more adults and families with young children are available, and they go there as part of their weekend funtime. Plus, the entrance does not have a fixed price: visitors can pay from €3 to €12 (the recommended price being €8 to ensure the association’s perpetuity). This makes for an affordable price range when on a student budget, considering that you pay for an afternoon of movie-watching.

The movies that were promoted on Saturday were all enthralling, but the best one in my opinion was Indonésie, voyage en terre MATAROMBEO, directed by Gil Kebaïli and co-directed by Evrard Wendenbaum. The movie depicts an expedition led by French researchers in one of the most remote places on Earth: the Matarombeo massif, on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Not only were the featured landscapes of untamed wilderness mesmerizing, but the explorers (as any other description of their feats would be an understatement) were astonishing in their resourcefulness and the skills they employed. Throughout the movie, as you watch them swim inside a partially submerged grotto, rock climb without a rope, examine stalactites, and make their own fire camp – you realize that modern Indiana Jones do exist. And that researchers are not doomed to spend the end of their days trapped in a lab.

The purpose of the movie was to be able to film the world’s smallest bovine, the Anoa, which had only been captured once before. During their expedition, they also made the first archaeological surveys on caves where human presence going thousands of years back could be detected. It really was a fascinating movie to watch, and the fact that they achieved their goal by filming two Anoas made it even more exciting.

As a scientist, to imagine that a landmass like Sulawesi still holds secrets from us and that we have just discovered a small part of it is invigorating. In my opinion, this is where the strength of the Rencontres resides: to make you discover eye-opening scenes from cozy Grenoble.

If you missed out on the Rencontres Montagnes et Sciences in Grenoble, fret not! The event is planned in many cities this winter, including Le Bourg d’Oisans, Valence, Clermont-Ferrand, Chambéry, and Lyon. Just click on the following link for more information: http://www.montagnes-sciences.fr/programme-3/

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