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The forest of souls directed by Pierre Gaffié Grief by sounds...

"The forest of souls" is a poignant reflection on death, grief and a revolutionary way of coping with absence. It portrays Mathilde, a 25 years old acoustician, who invents a cemetary of sounds, in a forest, where,, thanks to her electronical device, people in grief will be able to listen to the voices of departed. The film has been shown in many festivals around the world (Italy, Germany, England, USA and France to name a few) so we thought it was time to have a c achat with its director, former film critic Pierre Gaffié.

Erica Descamps : When we watch "The forest of souls", we barely can tell if it's a fiction or a documentary. Was it done with this purpose of blurring the lines?

Pierre Gaffié : Not really. The film had me on the brink for a few weeks before taking the decision of directing it. I wanted to cope with death as it seems that cinema is "great" in showing murders but very poor in describing grief, or the process of grieving. Trees have been a recurring theme throughout my work, ever since my first short "A woman and a juke=box" where a woman finds a record single in the trunk of an oak.

But with "The forest of souls", I wanted to go beyond the trend of talking about the power of trees and their inner communication in a forest. Of course, I truly believe in that, and many books have been written about those extraordinary things. But for me it was not enough as it's more about contemplation than action. And I wanted to show a character (Mathilde, the young acoustician) who is able to combine nature and technology. My film is not "The tree of life", it's more "The tree of invention_"

ED : Did you have concerns that viewers may not 'buy" the extraordinary invention Mathilde is offering the people in the film?

PG: Not reaally. And I'm often puzzled (in a good way) by the audiences's reaction whenever the film is screened somewhere. People ask me : "This is really a great idea (the cemetary of sounds) and it'll be available soon!". So in a way, the film has reached its purpose, its aim: transforming a supposed student invention in what could become a worldwide habit : listening to the dead.

I had read, many years ago, an interview with singer Peter Gabriel where he mentioned the tree he would love to be buried under, and its preference for a simple burial there. And I also remember that he mentioned the power of trees in recovery. So I think it started a spark in my mind, butat the time I read the article I couldn't imagine I'll make a film about that.

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