"Fissures": Listen to the Past By Lena Murgu-Adam

in 7th Cluj Transsilvania International Film Festival

by Lena Murgu-Adam

Fissures (Ecoute le temps), a poetic thriller that one might also entitle “Listen to the Past” explores our perception of lost sound of voices from the past. The film raises the question what remains after the death of a loved one? Photos, objects, memories, but also the sound of their voices if they have not been recorded?

The director, Alanté Kavaïté, a Lithuanian-born actress who moved into filmmaking after studying art in France, coped with mourning after the death of her mother. She threw off the yoke of the guilt we feel when faced with irreparable loss and the feeling of not having understood or loved as we should have.

This is the plight of the heroine, Charlotte, who did not get along with her mother for various reasons, among them the latter’s clairvoyant gifts. Rushing to the location of her mother’s suspicious death, she decides to act alone when the police investigation runs into a dead end. Being a sound recorder, she realizes she can pick up past sounds and voices, among them the voice of her mother at particular spots of the latter’s house.

If her mother had the gift of telling the future, her daughter can make out the past. An unknown past that could conceal a crime. Visually, her method involves stretching strings every which way across the house and hanging notes of each sound she picks up on them, creating a sort of spider’s web. She thus reconstitutes the past and unmasks the killer. The film is both thriller and a tale of personal quest.

The film is energized by the intense, close quarter’s performance of Emilie Dequenne, for whom the role was written, and she receives able support from her co-players, especially Ludmila Mikaël, as the mother, who illuminates each scene with the mere sound of her voice. Mathieu Demy is the organic farmer who seems to be above all suspicion, Jacques Spiesser is the mayor, and his wife is played by French-born Romanian actress Eva Ionesco.