“If a shepherd in 1412 observed a curious light floating over the treetops, he would probably have assumed it to be a lantern hanging from a witch's broomstick. If a motorist in 2013 observed that same light he would in all likelihood conclude that it was attached to a spacecraft from another world. Neither conclusion would be any more correct, but at the base of these shared experiences lies a common attempt to explain complex forces that have always been an essential part of our immediate environment. It is the purpose of this documentary to examine those forces and the myths that surround them. “ - Richard Stanley
Hidden deep in the south of France, practically untouched by the modern age is a place known by many as “the Zone”. In this space, which encompasses Montsegur (site of the Cathar genocide and a place where portals into the past and ghostly apparitions are commonplace), Rennes-Le-Chateau (where a priest was reputed to have struck a deal with dark forces, an enormous fortress of secrets and treasures, among which might be the burial place of the actual Holy Grail) and Bugarach (a superforce draw for doomsday cults and the site of a mountain known to be harbouring alien vessels), the supernatural is an everyday reality of life. Magic is everywhere. It is reason. It is currency. It is unquestionable fact.
Prepare yourself for a journey into life on the other side of the mirror. Legendary filmmaker Richard Stanley (HARDWARE, DUST DEVIL, THE THEATRE BIZARRE, as well as a string of stunning documentaries) has never been under spoken about his studies in mysticism and the occult. A trained anthropologist whose brain glows with secret knowledge and forgotten histories, Stanley has spent decades exploring the literal fantastic.
In 2009, after having regularly visited the area for over 20 years, the filmmaker took up permanent residence in the village of Montsegur. The experiences that Stanley has had there, the people he has grown to understand and the astounding possibilities behind much of what he has learned compelled him to make this film, to show the outside world a little bit of what’s going on… in the Zone. It is a visually dazzling work, and a deeply fascinating one. It takes you into haunted places, castles, caves and mountains, sits you down with sorcerers, scholars and lunatics, and brings you sights that few of this world have seen. Most importantly, it’s 90 minutes in the company of some of the most unusual and compelling personalities you could hope to meet. Through their testimonials and endeavours, we are afforded a rare glimpse, not only into supernatural forces, but the myriad ways that humankind struggles with understanding them. People travel enormous distances to learn what they can here. Rennes-Le-Chateau, for example, has capitalized on its dark history, becoming, as the filmmaker says, “an esoteric Disneyland” that sees tens of thousands of visitors annually yet has all of 18 actual inhabitants living there!
This is a beautifully crafted piece of work, shot by acclaimed cinematographer/filmmaker Karim Hussain (ANTIVIRAL, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN), edited by Pat Tremblay (HELLACIOUS ACRES) and scored by the great Simon Boswell (HARDWARE, SANTA SANGRE). The spellbinding — and often very funny — result of 22 years of occult study in the region, L’AUTRE MONDE is truly a film that only Richard Stanley could have made. An unforgettable voyage into the otherworld awaits you. - Mitch Davis