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Acouphènes (White Noise)| 17mins
Director: Francois Xavier Drouet | Producer: Ardche Images
Focus Years: 2004 | Country: France
Subject Tags: belief, energy, europe, france, science
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
“Acouphènes”, by François-Xavier Drouet, is as much an ecological fable as an experimental nursery rhyme. Under an ironic exterior, this short film sounds out our primitive fears and our confidence in nuclear power. It all begins with the recollection of a journey during which the narrator, then a child, questions his parents about the origin of clouds coming out of big chimneys along the side of the motorway. As an adult, the film-maker decides to investigate. Here he is at Pierrelatte, a charming village and home to the nuclear site of Tricastin. So far, all is well! From a cabin, he telephones the “communications division” of the power station to find out what are the risks of danger. They assure him that the engineers are “responsible and qualified people who rarely make mistakes”. One has to admit, he acknowledges, “that a car accident is far more dangerous than a power station that has no accident”. In the same vein, he talks to a lady chemist who confirms that the iodine tablets distributed free of charge only protect his thyroid gland from radiations. For the rest, he only has to follow the instructions of the authorities.... Being unable to visit the site because of the terrorist threat, he finishes his tour at the “crocodile farm” where the heat comes from the cooling circuits of the power station. Giving his soundtrack strident notes and his story the form of a nightmare, François-Xavier Drouet confers a quasi-apocalyptic dimension to his inquiry. And says a good deal more about our feelings and relationship with nuclear power than a thousand investigations.

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