Lars Koens and Demelza Kooij have published a chapter on the use of sound and voice-over in Peter Mettler’s documentaries, including Picture of Light, Gambling, Gods and LSD, Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands, and The End Of Time. Their essay, “Creative Use of Voice in Non-Fiction Narrative Film” in Soundings: Documentary Film and the Listening Experience, is available as a free download from the University of Huddersfield Press. Read it here!
“Language forms an integral part of Mettler’s filmmaking process, exemplified by the diverse use of voice. […] He prefers to reveal the limits and artificiality of language, as opposed to reading out facts. For example, the voice-over in The End of Time starts with what could be regarded as a Nietzschean claim: ‘Things don’t have names, we made them all up’. Film provides an excellent ground for such philosophical explorations, only to find new boundaries of course — those of the film medium itself. In the cinema, we cannot authentically experience the Northern Lights nor feel the effects of LSD. The translation from lived to cinema experience is fundamental to Mettler’s reflexive style.” (169–170)