Vincent Moon, `the Happiest Man on Earth`

by HRM on November 28, 2011

by Franziska Knupper

Vincent Moon

Independent filmmaker Vincent Moon only needs a sleeping bag and his camera to do what he does. Right now he is in Indonesia, capturing the city’s music scene on tape.

“I never understood why anyone would study film,” says Vincent Moon (real name Mathieu Saura), sitting in a little café in Paris on the Rue Rambuteau. “Personally I think that studying art, philosophy or any other science provides you with more of a profound background that you can then use for all your further work.” He takes a sip of his Espresso., “All the filming is just learning by doing.” He contemplates for a moment: “Yes, you just have to go for it, get started.”

Vincent Moon was lucky. He met the right people at the right time. There was Chryde, the founder of the music association “La Blogothèque” with whom Moon created a completely new approach towards music: “I absolutely hate music videos”, Moon says, explaining his motivation.

The result was a large amount of Dogma95-like clips of musicians such as Bon Iver, Efterklang, Beirut, Noah and the Whale, Sigur Rós, Andrew Bird, Vic Chesnutt David Bazan or Okkervil River. Clips that resemble guerilla film making, clips that are simple and pure. Long one-take-recordings full of details. There is a glimpse of hand or a guitar, a close up of curly hair, the silent sound of someone playing the accordion in the background. Recorded on streets, in old fashioned elevators, in parks with playing children or on hidden alleyways the settings are often absurd but always incredibly creative. The members of the band Beirut are waving out of windows, Phoneix are having a jam session in front of the Eiffel tower and Mogwai are sharing their stage during a concert. Moon is very close, standing right beside them, moving silently among them, almost invisible. He is a discrete director just capturing a moment: facial expressions, warm colors, voices, hidden moments.

Vincent Moon

Photo by Francois Roy for La Presse

A combination of courage, free spirit and self-confidence have brought Vincent Moon this far. His life has been on the road for the last two years, the only constant feature in his life the music and his camera.

Never resting, never absorbing… “Sometimes it is exhausting to be travelling all the time, yes. But I believe a lot in the memory of the body. So even if my mind does not have time to take in all the impression, my body keeps them for me.” The influence of spiritual values has clearly influenced his work as well: “I lose interest in English music, in people singing in English. The Western world does not attract me as much as it used to do,”he says playing with a Brojanica, a Muslim prayer bead. “This calms my nerves.”

His new project takes place in Indonesia where he is trying to discover the city through its music. A few impressions of a place, a documentary about its sound: “It’s going to be called Jakarta, Jakarta! Isn’t that such a nice title? ”

One of the fundamental principles is that he never tries to make money out of it. “I pretty much live from what I earn by projections from time to time. I am always staying with people I meet through my work or during my travels who invite me for a drink or a conversation,” he laughs, then shrugs his shoulders: “I am the happiest man on earth.”

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