21 november 2019

  • Grande Salle
  • Free of charge

The Autumn Festival in Paris, the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Théâtre de la Ville present Last Whispers film-oratorio by Russian-American photographer Lena Herzog: a cry of alarm over the programmed silence and the dramatic loss of indigenous languages ​​in the world.

The screening of this film is part of the “International Year of Indigenous Languages” from the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO. At an unprecedented speed, even faster than the extinction of some species, our linguistic diversity is disappearing. Today, of the remaining 7 000 languages ​​on Earth, only 30 are spoken by the majority of the world’s population. Half of the languages ​​spoken today on the planet will have disappeared by the end of the 21st century.

Last Whispers takes the form of an immersive oratorio, a video film made up of sequences filmed by drones and still images, poetically related to a sound and musical composition broadcast in sound 8.1. A “choir” is composed of recordings of extinct or endangered languages, spoken and sung in the form of speeches, recitations, incantations or ritual songs and punctuated by the sounds of nature (waves, wind …).

At the Festival d’Automne, the musicality of languages, their vocality and prosody have been a recurring theme for many years. Evidenced by the programmed works of Salvatore Sciarrino, Robert Ashley, Pierre-Yves Macé and the Babel Contes cycle of the 2000 festival where the invited storytellers recounted, in their language (surtitled), and made known the Quechua, the Maori, Persian, Creole, Greek, Sami, Zulu, and some dialects of China or Japan.

This “International Year of Indigenous Languages” aims to draw attention to the disappearance of these indigenous languages ​​and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote them. After being presented in its first version in 2016 at the British Museum in London, Last Whispers was screened at the Kennedy Center in Washington and will be shown again this year in different institutions.

In addition to screening this film at the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Festival d’Automne continues, as every year, to raise awareness among high school students in Paris and Île-de-France. In this context, it will broadcast Last Whispers by Lena Herzog (sound production: Mark Mangini and Marco Capalbo) in various theaters, including the Théâtre de la Ville – Espace Cardin, and schools.

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