Long war…

We’re in 1347, Around June 20.

Summer is here and human beings are sending each other to kingdom come. Two pretenders to the Dukedom of Brittany are fighting, and through them, so are England and France. Two wars will be coexisting : the war of succession and the other one, which everybody has heard of.

The famous Hundred Years war starts in 1337 and comes to an end in 1453. Two or three generations will know nothing but this. The Succession one starts in 1341 and ends in 1364. So in 47, those first ten years are but the infancy of this war. For now, the fightings devastate the area between Guingamp, Lannion and Tréguier, for which La Roche-Derrien is the (fortified) centre. 

Change of time, after our productions dedicated the second World War, we conjure up the battle of La Roche-Derrien, June 1347, in the three languages already spoken by the belligerents of the time, English, Breton and French. HD listening available on site, usual schedule or on request.

The listening area is inside the church of La Roche-Derrien, facing a stained-glass window dating back to the1920s recalling the defeat of the Franco-Breton coalition and the capture of their leader, Charles de Blois, badly wounded.

Sheltered by the church

The town council  chose to recall this moment of local history with a production in native binaural ending a tour of the town in augmented reality. It appeared that binaural sound design would have been too dangerous to use for the whole tour because of the traffic, hence the choice of the church as listening site. And as we like to get things right, the headphones are powered by the Feichter Audio S2 and D8.

What was life like then ? How can bring it to you in ten minutes ?  How do we build the illusion in such a historical context  ? And as the sound experience is going to bring about History in our present time, what is it going to tell us about ourselves ? 

Since our binaural is made with only fresh goods, we simply had to shoot the punch-up 14th century-style and place the listener in the dodgy shelter of the church, as it could well have been the case for the witnesses of the time.

Photo ArtMen, Lionel Baillon

Local resources

The shooting spread over a period of a month on a  favourable site in the vicinity. The ideal thing for us would have been to shoot inside the very church where the listening would take place, unfortunately, the church is situated in the town center and surrounded by engines. Heat engines are the plague of sound recording ! Each time, I think to myself that we should record them, those engines, while they still exist.  Still, we managed to record in there three times : fist to collect the impulse responses we’d be needing in post-production (some 20 shots fired at 10 PM in the silence of a Sunday evening… many thanks to the residents for their patience !), then for the scene with the horses, and lastly when we recorded the crowd shouting outside the church. 

Recording, taking part in a recording session, always has a mirroring effect. The medieval reconstruction company Amzer Goz know how to fight and show it to the public. But the sound performance of the battle, when the scene is only « seen » by the ears, needs adapting. This discovery of the sound aspect always goes with amazed comments. The adaption of what is yet our usual reality through the headphones brings a new awareness of the contribution of hearing to our perception of the world.  As if, after removing our headphones, we started to listen. 

A presentation of the system

Continuous hearing from 9 AM to 6 PM in the Saint Catherine church, La Roche-Derrien (22). Free admission.

Written and produced in binaural by Pascal Rueff
Production of L’Agence du Verbe

The ghost : Morgan TOUZÉ
The pastry cook : Cornille
The grand-mother : Marnie O’NEIL, Anne DUEDAL
The boy : Bran PENGLAOU
The combattants : Amzer Gozh
The villagers : Amzer Gozh

Hurdy-gurdy : Nigel EATON
Singing : Morgan TOUZÉ

Breton translation  : Gilles PENNEC
English translation : Morgan TOUZÉ
Historical adviser : Anne-Marie LE TENSORER
Assistant editor : Olivier LESIRE

With :

Association Amzer Gozh : Anne-Marie LE TENSORER, aka Cornille ; Gwen EVANO & Olivier CASSIEN ; Mélanie DEL FRATE & Jérôme LECLECH, Bran PENGLAOU & Emma DEL FRATE ; Suzanne, Gwenola & Sylvain MADELAINE (aka Figuline & Fauchevent) ; Corinne & Pascal CREQUIT ; Aela QUÉRÉ & Michael BONNET (aka Junior)and the dogs Hasgard & Freyja

Stéphanie & Julien NICOL, compagnie Volti Subitoand the  percherons Tango et Arnie ; Michel LE GARSMEUR and his sheep ; Gwenola MADELAINE and the hens Fauvette & Poule Rousse

Lycée agricole of Pommerit, Riding school : Elisa BOURGUIGNON on Quorrigan ; Solène TURUBAN on Triskell ; Adrien CLEAC’H on Unesco ; Céline LE GARDIEN on Teelou ; Gwendoline GILLET on Traviata ; Matthieu LOGIOU on Viaïpie ; Céline BIHAN on Orion du Jaudy ; Véronique COLCANAP on Or & the Riding school team , BTS  Pommerit, director Marc JANVIER

Many thanks to  : Régis & Mariel HUON DE PENANSTER ; Corentin HUON DE PENANSTER ; Bernard LOZAÏC ; Marcel & Marie-Thérèse CONNAN ; Denise BOÉTÉ ; Yann Choubard ; Brigitte GOURHANT and the city services of Ploubezre ; Gwenola Coïc ; Rozenn NICOL
Breton version English versionFrench version

L’été 1347 – Exerpt – English Version (EN)
L’été 1347 – Exerpt – French Version (FR)
L’été 1347 – Exerpt – Breton Version (BZ)
Categories: Heritage