Carnival of the Animals: From the Life of a Fantasy

Author: sounding images

Camille Saint-Saëns’ life story, narrated from an unexpected perspective: the composition itself.

  • Gabriela Montero | Copyright: © Dieter Stürmer / sounding images

    Gabriela Montero © Dieter Stürmer / sounding images

  • Karneval der Tiere | Copyright: © Holger Preuße / sounding images

    Karneval der Tiere © Holger Preuße / sounding images

  • Karneval der Tiere | Copyright: © Holger Preuße / sounding images

    Karneval der Tiere © Holger Preuße / sounding images

Shooting for an extraordinary documentary about Saint-Saëns’ most popular work is in full swing. For the 100th anniversary of his death, we let the musical collection of caricatures speak – and sound – for itself.

For the biographical-musical references, we filmed with the Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero in Barcelona, in the impressive Palau de la Música. The shooting of the orchestral parts took place in Berlin, at the Delphi Theatre. For two days, professional young musicians were filmed from all possible and impossible perspectives.

It is his most famous composition. But Camille Saint-Saëns objected to its publication. We shed light on the evolution of the “Carnival”, from its painful, swift birth measure of the “great zoological phantasy” in the composer’s mind to the satirical musical jabs against his famous colleagues. At all times, the piece is threatened by its everlasting fear to die an early death inside its makers’ drawer after going through a hapless one-time-performance. The piece itself tells us its tale of woe until it finally conquers the great stages of the music world.

Password: si2020

Duration 52'
Production year 2020
Coproduction Company WDR/ARTE
Coproducer Christian Nurtsch-Wesener
Director Holger Preuße
Producer Claus Wischmann
Distribution TV C Major Entertainment



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