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/

The Electro Suite – Une petite analyse

Bonjour à tous !

Je m’appelle Hugo. Pour ceux qui ne me connaissent pas, j’ai lancé l’année dernière le Club Cinéma ; qui a été repris cette année par le très talentueux et très beau Thomas Cagnac.

La raison de chaque instance de ma présence en public est de m’accaparer quelques minutes de votre temps pour faire état de certaines de mes découvertes ou redécouvertes culturelles, en analysant le contenu d’une ou plusieurs œuvres comme j’ai eu l’honneur de le faire pendant les séances Ciné de l’année dernière. Vous pouvez en déduire facilement que je suis un narcissiste psychopathe fini, avec une condescendance culturelle poussée. Mais passons.

Parler de Cinéma est quelque chose que j’ai déjà pu faire avec plus ou moins d’aisance par le passé et permet d’aborder une pléthore de sujets en pagaille en plus de nombreux thèmes plus ou moins en rapport direct. J’ai pu aborder le cadrage, la lumière, le scénario, les dialogues et la musique de plusieurs films et je vais recommencer ici en m’attardant justement sur la musique d’un film.

Ou plutôt une musique issue d’un film. Je vais vous parler pendant cette chronique de la Suite Electro composée par Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Le Roi Lion, Inception…) pour le film The Amazing Spider Man 2. Vous savez, celui avec Andrew Garfield et Emma Stone. Pas celui avec Toby MacGuire. Et pas celui avec Tom Howards. Et pas la série animée. Enfin BREF, la musique d’un film.

La musique dans le cinéma est un sujet vaste car elle se doit de s’adapter à son médium de base. On a plein de cas de figure mais je vais me concentrer ici sur le cas particulier de la musique d’un personnage spécifique. C’est un sous-genre particulier qui sert à dresser en plus de la narration du film le portrait d’un personnage, ses enjeux ou son ton avec une orchestration particulière.

Des exemples simples : Vous connaissez tous celui-ci The Imperial March. Dark Vador est un personnage important, menaçant, militaire, sombre et son thème musical à base de cuivres imposant est repris à plusieurs endroits des films. Un autre : The Avengers Theme. Les Avengers ! triomphal, héroïque, incarne l’espoir. Pleins d’autres exemples de films existent : le Terminator, Batman, etc. Dans les jeux vidéo aussi d’ailleurs, pour ceux qui reconnaissent Bonetrousle. C’est une dimension importante d’un film de divertissement, un personnage est bien plus marquant quand le film fait l’effort de lui consacrer une partie de sa bande-son !

Mais cette introduction est bien trop longue ! Continuons.

Continuer la lecture de « The Electro Suite – Une petite analyse »

‘Our Planet’, a breathtaking nature show

Co-financed by WWF (World Wildlife Fund), one of the most powerful environmental NGOs, and the production companies Silverback Films and Netflix, the project benefited from significant resources. In fact, it is the largest documentary series produced to date, with more than 600 film crew members, 50 countries covered, a budget of several tens of millions of dollars and years of filming, thus outperforming all BBC productions. Even new technologies have been used to obtain unique plans such as vehicle-mounted cameras, motion-detecting cameras and 4K drones. 

The series consists of 8 episodes, the first of which is an introduction. Each episode explores in turn the forest, deep waters, frozen worlds and jungles without stunning the viewer with figures or apocalyptic sentences about the extinction of species as other documentaries have done before. However, the distress of the situation is realized through the breathtaking shots such as the one at the end of the first episode when, set to calming classical strings, kilometer long icebergs implode off the shores of Greenland. «What we do in the next 20 years will determine the future for all life on Earth», says the narrator. And that is the main purpose of this production; to make the audience aware of the alarming reality that awaits us.

In addition, naturalist David Attenborough has lent his voice to the English version and brings a very appreciable scientific touch to it. He explains very clearly how nature perfectly regulates itself, how elephants pass on their knowledge from generation to generation or even describes surrealist bridal parades of exotic birds. But more importantly, he reminds us why human’s action is destroying this incredibly rich and therefore precious world of ours, and why we all need to act quickly to delay the disaster.

The show is available since the beginning of April only on Netflix. Whether you are passionate about nature, storytelling or beautiful images, this series will not disappoint you. And the message it carries is crucial for our time.

Us – Movie review

First of all, what’s it about ? It’s about a family going back to the mother’s previous house in California. They want to have a good time there on holidays, but events will bring to the surface horrific memories to the mother. She knows, like back in the time, something similar is about to happen again.

Speaking about the change of mindset of the mother played by Lupita Nyong’o, let’s begin by remarking the acting. She played in “12 years a slave”, “Black Panther” and in “Star Wars VIII” and is really convincing in the role of someone progressively losing her mind.

“Us” had been directed and written by Jordan Peele. He had only directed “Get Out” 2 years ago before this one. It was already a horror movie, which has shown to be very popular and received pretty good reviews. Spectators liked it because instead of only being gore, Jordan Peele did a movie in which we had to put all the pieces together to understand what was going on. We were trying to figure everything out until the final twist, and that was enjoyable. Consequently, we could have good hope on “Us”.

Indeed, “Us” is still based on the same model, with evidences spread here and there that you can use to understand everything before the end, but it won’t be easy. By the way, it’s amusing to see how Jordan Peele considers very well his spectator on the one hand considering the plot, but still takes time to explain some stupid details on the other hand. In the end, it even offers several possible interpretations. To be honest, the puzzle is clearly more complex than in his previous movie, and we also completely loose the humorous side “Get Out” had.

Therefore, even if the story is also about a black family, this time the subject isn’t about race and discrimination but more about the dark sides of individuals and groups. It’s frankly more centered on the horror aspect while “Get out” was more a thriller.

On the technical side, cinematography was awesome. It’s been shot by Mike Gioulakis who also shot “It follows” back in 2014, also a horror movie. The camera was placed at so many spots on tense scenes to shoot a single one from different point of views that it adds to the feeling of losing control. It’s classic for horror movies, but I loved chosen spots on this one. I also want to note the vivid colors used. It’s overall fairly dark, but they still use bright colors, making the picture high on contrast. As opposed to one previous horror movie released in November, the drab “overlord”. “Us” is definitely more impressive than “Get out”.

« Love, Death & Robots » une anthologie qui décoiffe

Do you like short films, sci-fi/horror/comedy and beautiful visuals? Then you might want to check out on the new Love, Death & Robots.

This brand new TV series aired out on March 15, 2019 on Netflix executive produced by David Fincher (Alien 3, House of Cards, Fight Club, Mind Hunter) and Tim Miller (Deadpool, Mass Effect 2). There are 18 episodes of 6 to 17 minutes covering NSFW adult topics (racism, war, free will…), each independant from the others and produced by different animators and filmmakers from around the globe. They are inspired from the movie Heavy Metal (1981) except two from original ideas.

In the trailer you get a glimpse of all 18 episodes. I personnally love good animation and the trailer immediately made me want to watch it and I absolutely don’t regret it: each episode has a radically different art style and it is gorgeous! « The witness » with its mix of bright colors, 2D and 3D and « Good hunting » with its amazing action and detailed streampunk cyborgs are probably my favorite regarding the aesthetics. There are plenty of details, rich textures and ingenious design ideas. And not to forget, the music and sound ambiance are a delight to the ear.

screenshot of the episode
« The Witness », image from IMDb

Even though a couple stories probably lack originality the vast majority of them are refreshing, interesting, funny and/or moving. Their only link is that they all evolve kind of around « love », « death » or « robots » (as the title suggests) and this leads to interesting topics. There’s this guy who doesn’t want to leave his home (a dump), a girl who’d mother has been killed because of rumors, mankind’s absurdities and failings, the meaning of life and so much more. At the end of an episode you’ll probably feel like you would want to spend a little more time in its world. The characters too are great, they are described spot-on in a press release as « Sentient Dairy Products, Rogue Werewolf Soldiers, Robots Gone Wild, Sexy Cyborgs, Alien Spiders And Blood-thirsty Demons From Hell ».

screenshot of the episode
« Good hunting », image from IMDb

The series looked very « real » to me. One example of this is that some characters sometimes are shown fully naked, with no mysterious light beam or plant hiding their genitals. I don’t know about you but when I see this kind of trick in movies this reminds me that I am watching something, I’m not « in » anymore. Bodies are just bodies and it is nice to see that it is not a shame to see a tit or a butt. But to be fair, it is true that female characters are way more often exposed, sometimes in an unnecessary way.

screenshot from the episode
« When the Yogurt Took Over », image from Imdb

Love, Death & Robots really hooked me up, both thanks to the art and the stories, I would give it a 4.5 out or 5. I hope that there will be a second season or more series of shorts like this one! Before you leave, if you already binged th 3+ hours series and liked it, you will maybe also like « Last Man », « Final Space », « Devilman Crybaby » and « Black Mirror », all available on Netflix. Check out also Les Gobelins school’s YouTube channel for even more shorts! 😉