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  • Michael Walcott

Le Prince Des Cieux

We were recently sent a DVD from France of David Thouroude’s Le Prince Des Cieux (translated: The Prince of Heaven). At 48-minutes duration, this relatively short film, is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio with LPCM 2.0 audio.

Containing virtually no dialog, Le Prince Des Cieux, delves into the increasingly unhinged world of a visual artist, captivatingly portrayed by Abdou M'Bodji. In an early scene, the artist is seen looking at some photographic slides, taken from a wooden box, which had been previously buried. We see a slide of him as an infant, juxtaposed next to an aroused phallus. There are undertones to suggest that he may have been abused or possibly wrestled with issues of sexual identity. The latter theme can be further explored in another slide, which has a similar subtext. He is now pictured as an adult, adopting a foetal position, juxtaposed next to a flaccid phallus. We are also treated to images of abuse, murder and incarceration, which are all acompanied by a concophony of sobbing voices.

Music and sound design is very integral to this film. It has a hypnotic soundtrack created by Billy Dranty, which is an aural feast of organic sounds, ethereal voices and electronica; that adds to the tension of M’Bodji’s performance. Although at times I felt that the editing seemed languid and repetitive, it did complement to the spiralling madness of this antihero. Thouroude paints a rich cinematic canvas in which rurality and human degradation, is seemlessly blended with a volcanic industral landscape.

Le Prince Des Cieux is a film that can be interpreted on many levels. If you are a person that likes to be spoon-fed a narrative, this might not be for you. However, having watched it several times, I think that it is a film that demands to be seen. In sum, an abstract, hallucinatory journey into the psychosis of an artist; that reveals more about itself with every viewing.

We would like to thank Santarita Films for kindly sending us a copy of this film for review.

For more information, please visit the official site of Santarita Films.

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