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Award Winner

Festival Season:

February 2024

The Smugglers Of Silence (A Contre-bande)

The Smugglers Of Silence (A Contre-bande)

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Writers:

Producers:

Run Time:

Olivier Simon
Olivier Simon
Stéphane Dedalus Cormier, Aurélie Dufourg, Olivier Simon
0:42:47

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Awarded Category(s)

On the other side of Paris, on a winter's evening. A young blonde woman, as if out of a film noir, searches for a man with a suitcase, a mute smuggler of Irma Vep's memories. He's on death's door, and tries to escape his fate by fleeing along the railroad tracks, followed by a third man, an enigmatic musician or simply a chance narrator... A chase begins, along the byways of a Paris that no longer belongs to anyone...



Submitter Statement

NOTE OF INTENTION 


Following the "ciné-fil" thread I've been stretching since childhood to bring my shadows into the light (and I've taken my time!), with A CONTRE-BANDE I've built a story like a reverence to my first cinematic emotions: The Slapstick (Keaton, Chaplin) that my grandfather projected in his cellar, transformed into an improbable dark room. 


À CONTRE-BANDE is a story of movement and topography. 


Spare of words, it's not words that drive the story forward. Instead, the story revolves around movement and location, in an atmosphere drawn from the world of the absurd. A CONTRE-BANDE plays the comedy of escape in a huge schoolyard: Paris. The characters are thrown into a chase with no other aim than to disappear, then reappear. Prevented from reaching their destination by the most direct route, they wander, branch off, retrace their steps, stroll, wander, criss-cross Paris along the rails, wobble or sprint, and, from time to time, stop in... a cinema! 


The film's territory is organized around the railroad tracks, which almost never leave the film. Bridges and subways are used to transmit the sequences. Shot in the open air, A CONTRE-BANDE takes to the byways of Paris, to places on the bangs, off-beat, usually out-of-frame, wandering in places that irresistibly remind me of Louis Feuillade's serials, the smuggling obsession of the man with the suitcase: Irma Vep . 


If all the games and tracks in A CONTRE-BANDE refer back to a single theme, it's the fear of death, and the impossibility (or possibility!) of cheating it. Here, our characters are alone, facing the city and the fate that embraces them. The end, or rather an end, is brewing, the city is climbing, the night is becoming flesh and the wind is blowing. We open up to the other side of the story... And we whisper to ourselves that life is beautiful after all... Olivier Simon. 


NOTE D’INTENTION 


Suivant le « ciné-fil » que j’ai tendu depuis l’enfance pour mettre mes ombres à la lumière (et j’ai pris mon temps !), j’ai construit avec A CONTRE-BANDE un récit comme une révérence à mes premiers émois cinématographique: Les Slapstick (Keaton, Chaplin) que mon grand-père projetait dans sa cave transformée en improbable salle obscure. 


À CONTRE-BANDE est une histoire de mouvement et de topographie. 


Économe en paroles, ce n’est pas le verbe qui fait avancer le récit. Ce dernier s’articule autour de mouvements et de lieux ; dans un climat tiré de l’univers de l’absurde. A CONTRE-BANDE joue la comédie de l’évasion dans une immense cour d’école: Paris. Les personnages sont lancés dans une course-poursuite qui n’a d’autre but que de disparaître, puis de ressurgir. Empêchés d’atteindre leur destination par le chemin le plus direct ; ils errent, bifurquent, reviennent sur leurs pas, ils flânent, vagabondent, sillonnent Paris le long des rails, vacillent ou sprintent, et, de temps en temps, s’arrêtent dans… Un cinéma ! 


Le territoire du film s’organise autour des voies ferrées qui presque ne quittent pas le film. Les ponts ou les métros servent de courroie de transmission des séquences. Tourné à ciel ouvert, A CONTRE-BANDE prend les chemins buissonniers de Paris, sur des lieux à la marge, décalés, restant habituellement hors-champ, vagabonde dans des lieux qui m’évoquent irrésistiblement les serials de Louis Feuillade, obsession contrebandière de l’homme à la valise: Irma Vep . 


Si tous les jeux, et toutes les pistes de A CONTRE-BANDE renvoient à un thème unique, c'est la peur de la mort, et l’impossibilité (ou la possibilité !) de la tromper. Ici, nos personnages sont seuls face à la ville, face au destin qui les étreint. La fin, ou plutôt une fin, couve, la ville grimpe, la nuit se fait chair et le vent souffle. On s’ouvre à l'envers du décor… Et on se murmure, que finalement la vie est belle. 


Je vous remercie pour votre attention, Olivier Simon

« If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them » H.D Thoreau 


Born in 1966 in the middle of France, after long years in the stars of the aeronautics industry Olivier Simon decides in 2019 to come back to earth and abandon everything: except himself and his camera. 

Now an apprentice filmmaker, he starts dreaming up stories that will make you sleep at night! 


2023 - A CONTRE-BANDE (The smugglers of silence) - Medium-length fiction film. 


2022 - TOUT S'EXPLIQUE (Everything explain’s) Short musical film (8 min), awarded at numerous international festivals 


2021 - AU NORD DE LA NUIT (North of the Night), First feature-length fiction film (95 min) and first festival tour of the world with numerous international awards. 


2019 - DE L'OUVRAGE À L'OEUVRE, PONT DE FLANDRE (One Building in Paris) Commissioned documentary (40 min) on the architecture of a wooden building in the city. ICADE - Anne Carcelen Agency - OulipO Architecture Studio (NY-Paris) 


2024 - Plans for a second feature film: MISTERIOSO.

Key Cast

Aurélie Dufourg, Tsoa Rakotoarisoa, Olivier Simon, Valérie De Dietrich, Emmanuel De Dietrich, Anne Carcelen, Stéphane Dedalus Cormier, Kevin Reinecke

Other Credits

Director of photography: Olivier Simon; Film Editing: Olivier Simon; Soundtrack: Olivier Simon; Original Music: Tsoa Rakotoarisoa; Costume Design: Ariane Viallet

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