The darkness within has come out to play.
During her morning run, Johanna is assaulted by a stranger who drills a hole in her skull. When he receives a call saying that her daughter has been murdered, Morten cannot believe it: Johanna has just come back home, dazed, a black liquid flowing from her mouth. Distraught by her daughter’s slow physical decline, Morten will investigate a mysterious killer turning his victims into zombies.
« DARK SOULS is a film in which death replaces life. Usually in a film, death only lasts a split second, that’s why we wanted to show it more than that and use that concept to promote our ecological message. Contaminated blood darkens, all human excretions turn into oil and decay Johanna’s body from the inside, making her more and more look like a zombie. But our original idea was not to make another zombie film - even if we are fond of Georges Romero’s work - but to deal with the concepts of ‘contamination’ and ‘the living dead’ from a political and economic viewpoint. Indeed, this contamination is to be seen as a metaphor for our post-industrialized, globalized and interconnected world. There is an indisputable analogy between the flow of black liquid taking control of Johanna’s body - and other victims - and the oil flow which supplies our economy, thus denouncing the merciless greed of some oil companies always looking to make more profits while neglecting their devastating impact on the environment and our health. DARK SOULS must ring like a warning bell for future generations…and the fact that it was shot in Norway is far from trivial! »
Written, directed and edited by Mathieu Péteul and César Ducasse - with Morten Rudå, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Ida Elise Broch - original score by Wojciech Golczewski
Release date : 2011 – running time : 95 min
« The use of oil is also an interesting motif, but its allegorical use pales in comparison to the body horror of watching it exude from every pore of its victims, and it gives them a distinctive and effective look. There are also a lot of references to other horror movies thrown into the mix (more than this casual horror fan could ever detect), but the overall narrative, while taking occasional tangents, hangs together very effectively, and the abiding impression is of a deliciously dark movie that will creep under your skin like the oil in its victims. » movieevangelist.wordpress.com
« Shot entirely on Super 16mm film you can forget all about shaky and pixilated DV footage on autofocus. This is shot on good old 16mm celluloid and it’s such a pleasure to look at and thank you for that. Actually all the technical aspects are of a high professional standard and you can’t tell that DARK SOULS is a relatively low-budget independent production. The same goes for the special F/X work which is all done practical and looks very good and convincing. » Claus Reinhold
« Its story line takes the viewer by surprise, and always positively. When you seem to believe you’re watching a slasher movie, zombies appear, then a crazy chase in a factory, a supernatural villain, and all of that culminating in a pessimistic and apocalyptic ending.
Lucio Fulci seems to have done school here. His style is remembered in this narrative dynamic that at times seems like "The Beyond" or "The House by the Cemetery", but on a scale vastly inferior, of course. We can also notice the Bruno Mattei from "Predators of the Night", the classic Japanese productions with emphasis on the hair or the piercing sound of zombies remembering "The Grudge." Even Abel Ferrara does not escape the comparisons. » Marcelo Milici, bocadoinferno.com.br
RUINS OF TIME
In my restless dreams, I pass through Limbo...
Elsa, a young woman who had an abortion, looks for her lost innocence tracing back her childhood.
She wakes up amid some underwood, in the depth of a valley. She buries the dead fetus she holds in her hands in a bed of ivy. As she washes her hands in the river, tears of blood run down her cheeks…
« I envisioned this film as the inner portrait of a woman torn by doubt and despair after a traumatic event. I bring up this serious topic thanks to poetic and dramatic images, relying on fantastic naturalism rather than expressionism. Black and grim visions intertwine with meditative and mysterious sequences.
An ethereal and peculiar ambient world uncovers under our eyes. The natural setting, shot in a static way, enhances actions and words. Through the film, Elsa experiences what could be after-death or post traumatic survival time. The voice-over enables to dive into the character’s intimacy, putting words on her torment. Elsa, trapped into a timeless and spaceless world, turns into a phantom to the point she tends to vanish into the ruins of time.»
Produced, written and directed by Mathieu Péteul - with Maiko-Eva Verna, Katrina Brackeen and Sofia Atman - original score by Maninkari
Release date : 2016 – running time : 9 min
The RUINS OF TIME’S original music score is available on vinyl with the label Three:Four records.
"Music is the ultimate art of time, adapting to it, accompanying it, distorting it or making it disappear up to feigning the same immobility.
Anyone who has known insomnia knows that at night, time stretches and more rarely compresses. And so are some sequences of the short film (the flow of the torrent…), and so is Maninkari’s music which, beyond the blowing and low humming, gives rise to a wave of anxiety through the synthesizer’s reverberation.
Elsewhere, the cello, whose key was lowered an octave, is also subject to time collapsing, lowered, slow down for having more nighttime. This nocturnal mass is a door, a short ceremony which opens onto the rest of an album in which mist and hair of a residual light intertwine up to the breath. Like the trapped alveolus, hit in this way, the note and its harmonics are fluttering.
Present time (which is evading) and the forest become anxious environments with which you have to match, limp slightly accompanied by the percussions, and swirl approaching dissolution in the wake of the metallic drone.
Our feet in the humus, our head in the ether, we start afresh, together with the heroine, a journey in the center of the idealized, enchanted memory. Going up or down, still in the breath of the colourful night, with a voice at the crossroads as our only point of reference (Sofia Atman), whose resonance can be heard in Limbo, related to Ligeti’s Lux Æterna, and also in the ultimate The Forest is Madness in which the humming of a distant song sounds like the most ghostly call to make ourselves savage in the night."
Denis Boyer / feardrop.net
Translated from the French
French filmmaker, works and lives in Paris. Graduated from ESRA film school of Paris in 2001.
From 2007 to 2010 in Norway, he co-writes and co-directs with César Ducasse his first feature film: DARK SOULS (Mørke Sjeler) in which Morten Rudå plays a music teacher who would do anything to trace his daughter’s abuser. It is a satirical and stylized horror film using genre standards to promote an ecological message. Selected in about fifty international festivals including the prestigious Sitges and BIFFF with two nominations for the Méliès d’Argent, DARK SOULS comes back to Norway where it is officially released in movie theaters (January 2011).
After this success, Mathieu directs an experimental short film in a remote valley in Brittany, RUINS OF TIME, where Maïko-Eva Verna plays a pianist in the midst of an identity crisis. Staging a vertiginous descent into the female subconscious, the film is hailed in festivals around the world (Fargo, Amarcort, Columbus…) for its formal audacity and aesthetic search.
DAY WATCH, shot in May 2017 at an exhibition of André Dussoix’s artworks at Oron castle, explores the boundary between contemporary art and film. Halfway between a documentary film and a short film, it follows a visitor’s stroll, Marie Ruchat, in a labyrinthine place loaded with history.
André Dussoix displays around a hundred creations at the Oron medieval Castle.
DAY WATCH is a film having an experimental atmosphere and which explores the possible connections between contemporary art and film.
Marie Ruchat plays the part of a visitor who gets lost and merges into the castle’s meanders, among large linen cloths hanging along the former covered parapet walk.
« My main challenge was to report the richness of the exhibition and the signs expressed by the artist in a place so much loaded with history without necessarily having to use speech or a voice over.
I decided to organize the film into chapters using intertitles to lead and guide the spectator as in a silent film. Sequences are split by a colorimetric difference (colors are mixed with black and white) and also a time difference (timelapse, slow motion) while making one with background music or ambient sounds.
The artist’s interviews make it possible to deepen what is already expressed through pictures and sounds. I chose to create different atmospheres made up of original and cinematographic ambient sounds in a search for pure emotions using the beauty of the place and the strength of the artworks displayed. »
Produced and directed by Mathieu Péteul – coproduced by André Dussoix – with Marie Ruchat – original score by Akousma
Release date : 2018 – running time : 26 min
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75003 Paris, France
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