Montagnes Noires

The gray of the sea has caught up with the sky. A thunderstorm broke out. Static, an apparition. The rain comes slowly. Two minutes of drifting. Head in the fog. Alone. Is it real? Where are they going?

The rain stops. Thunder rumbles. The ballet begins. The first passage breaks the slow, dreamy rhythm of this long distance. The current carries away those black and white spots. The swirl, the sequence of images.

The rain returns. The mist. Are they doomed to wander there?

Submerged, stuck, in this no-man’s-land. Enduring the weather, the climate. Washed away. Contemplative and disturbing. Trapped?

Montagnes Noires (Black Mountains) is a video of drifting, of loss.

It possesses the disturbing strangeness that emanates from the quietness, contemplation, wandering on this immense lake (one could sometimes think of the sea) and the shifting of the situation: sheep on a raft.

Why were they put there?

A rising water? Have they been forgotten?

Like an abandonment on the water, they are condemned to drift.

Montagnes Noires (Black Mountains) is composed of images filmed on Lake Vassivière, during an artist’s residency in 2013 at the Centre International d’Art et du Paysage de Vassivière. The spectator drifts with her heroes, man or animals that she films without hierarchy and that she integrates into nature, the latter having the particularity of being without temporal indication, thus providing a certain letting go. Faced with her work we find ourselves in a state of in-between, a moment of suspension. In this moment of bewilderment of this group of sheep, what is there finally before or after? To what world are they taking us?

Julie Chaffort

Born in 1982 in Niort, France
Julie Chaffort is a filmmaker, she offers to see landscapes in movement, a calm nature scrolls by. With Montagnes Noires, a curious procession of sheep, dark and light ones move on a boat, in the middle of a lake or a sea. Between comic and tragic, the spectator is caught up in this spectacle of slowness and this picture of an atypical crossing.
Julie Chaffort likes to assemble elements of everyday life to put them in another context and create the world she would like to see. The unexpected is often at the centre of her work, the landscape becomes the hero of most of her films as well as the animals that have a very special place. Zebras, horses, dogs… punctuate her images, as well as a flamenco dancer on a boat, a hot dog pusher on the shore of a lake, hunter pianists in a forest… Julie Chaffort integrates the burlesque and the incongruous in most of her stories, making the link with today’s world but leaving the spectator free to interpret it.
Trained in theatre for most of her adolescence and then graduated from the Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux (2006) and Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School in New York (2010), one can feel the different influences in the staging, the relationship to frontality and the sequence shots. Her work is imbued with a strong pictoriality, and the heir to a great painting.