Presentation by and discussion with director, screenwriter and producer Jacques Perrin, composer Bruno Coulais and executive producer Olli Barbé
Le Peuple migrateur awakens the dream of Icarus as we soar over the mountains on every continent, flying over some of the highest plateaus in the world and over the vastness of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Alongside these migrating birds, we discover landscapes as beautiful as they are out-of-the-ordinary. During the three-year period it took to create this film, Jacques Perrin travelled the entire planet following the flights of thirty species of migrating birds (cranes, geese, swans, storks, ducks . . .). He shows us their seasonal resting places and allows us to observe their mating rituals, their behavior and their eating habits. Every year, these birds fly hundreds – or even thousands – of kilometers, from their departure in autumn to their return in spring. Using their natural compass and the stars, they always follow the same route. Using their traditional aerial highway is a question of survival that allows them to reach a place with a hospitable climate with an environment of plentiful food. Through this film, Jacques Perrin also wanted to show the precarity of these birds’ lives. Some of them will not survive the migration because of predators – including humans – diseases or injuries.
• César Award for Best Editing: Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte, 2002 •
• César Nominations for Best Music Written for a Film: Bruno Coulais
and for Best Debut in Fiction, 2002 •
• Oscar Nomination for Best Documentary, 2003 •
Cast & Crew
Director • Jacques Perrin, Michel Debats and Jacques Cluzaud
Directors of Photography • Thierry Machado, Dominique Gentil, Bernard Lutic, Luc Drion, Laurent Fleutot, Michel Terrasse, Sylvie Carcédo, Laurent Charbonnier and Philippe Garguil
Screenwriters • Jean Dorst, Stéphane Durand, Guy Jarry, Valentin Marvel, Jacques Perrin and Francis Roux, based on an original idea by Valentine Perrin
Producers • Christophe Barratier and Jacques Perrin
Executive producer • Olli Barbé
Music Composer • Bruno Coulais
Choose a picture to see the filmography (source : IMDB)
Debussy claimed that to learn how to compose, it would be better to watch a sunset than to listen to a symphony by Beethoven. And after spending months dreaming before the images of Le Peuple migrateur, the splendor of this spectacle encouraged me more towards silent contemplation than into musical composition. How can one express, with just 12 sounds, the euphoria of the first take-off, the arrogant freedom of flying, the exhausting struggle of migration, the wild inventiveness and unbelievable ingenuity of nature?
I have no answer to these questions, only some subjective propositions. They may be hazardous, but they are certainly sincere and personal. I first thought of the voice of Robert Wyatt, which by its delicacy and incongruity, moves us and swings the film into a supernatural universe, far removed from that of a documentary, along with the voices of children which evoke a magical farytale.
For the closing credits, I also thought of Nick Cave, whose poignant singing and incomparable texts are well-known. I thought of the voices of A Filetta for their emotion and their ability to play with respiration and breathing techniques, similar to the Inuits. I thought of the Bulgarka Quartet for their faultless virtuosity; of the Orthodox basses that seem to make the earth tremble. And finally I thought of everything that creates music . . . from an orchestra to children’s toys via string or wind quintets for the most natural music that would combine itself with the soundtrack, as well as of the pulsating beating of wings and birdsongs that would join with the orchestration. For me, the music of a film has no significance, other than (when it is successful) to vibrate naturally like light, to capture the film’s secret and invisible universe and quite simply, to move us.
I tried, here, to embrace the birds’ sound perspective, avoiding – insofar as was possible – any illustration and psychological approach because although we imagine we are observing the birds, it is they who observe us; privileged spectators of the beauty of the lands over which they fly and of the folly of man.