When discussing Pelléas et Mélisande, Marc Minkowski says it is “a magnetic work that sort of elevates anyone who approaches it” to the point that this opera has become one of the most emblematic works of French music.
Filming took less than two weeks, with a single camera. To mark the occasion of the opera's creation by Claude Debussy in Russia, Philippe Béziat seized the opportunity presented by this first collaboration between Marc Minkowski and Olivier Py to direct a unique film.
It is neither an opera film, nor is it quite a documentary, and it is far from being a television show; this musical film takes a close look into the mystery of this work and tells us how a conductor, director, Russian and French singers, technicians and extras find themselves faced with the famous fascination surrounding Pelléas et Mélisande.
During an interview, the director explains the subtitle, “Le chant des aveugles” (The Song of the Blind): Arkel, Golaud, Mélisande and Pelléas, each in their own different ways, are all blind. In the words of Olivier Py, a blind person, someone who does not know and who will never know, is at the heart of Maeterlinck's play, a play in which even desire adds darkness to darkness and in the opera, Debussy makes the blind sing. Therefore, the song of the blind is a formula that links together two senses – sight and hearing – and may suggest that a mysterious link between music and image is at work in the film.
Philippe Jordan, Robert Wilson – Stéphane Degout (Pelléas), Elena Tsallagova (Mélisande), Anne Sofie von Otter (Geneviève), Vincent le Texier (Golaud)
Verbier Festival 2007