Rocks of Ages – Granite – At the cold sea


For millions of years stones formed the foundation
mankind moves on across the earth. Rocks are
everywhere and in a sense are the memory of our planet.
A journey through space and time. From petrified waves
to chiseled palace. From granite behemoths to black silvery
basalt to fire – breathing mountains.

Filmmaker Petra Haffter went to Brittany to find – in Goethes words
„the underpinning of the earth,“ Granite.

Like basalt, granite is an igneous rock, only it's that cools and
solidifies deep in the earth. The Brittany coast is wild and rugged,
full of drama. With every tide the rocks are washed away and
returned again – and beaches of rocks are not uncommon.
On my journey through Brittany I meet people who have built into
the granit and others who have built structures out of it.
At the Chateau de Kérouzéré, a relic of the 15th century, still
privately owned today, I am greeted by Madame de Calan.
She guids me through the imposing walls: high ceilings, up to four
meters thick – damp – walls with comparatively small windows.
What the owner thinks of granite? :-this is a rock that´s cold and it's damp
espcially from autumn to spring.
From the Stone Age to the present day- the Menhirs always cast a spell
on us humans. Thousands are summoned to this mysterious
„Alignments of Carnac“ ever year, stones that don't want their
secrets told. Whether separately placed or raised in circles or groups,
if menhirs were tombs or not has never been proven.
Alain Le Goff was a teacher, he loves and collects traditional stories.
Now he does speaking tours through Brittany and neighboring countries.
We know very little about our ancestors and their relationship to this
„long rocks“. Today the most dominating hypothesis is that these are
the „alignments“ of a temple complex with rows of stone run toward
to a place where cults worship.
Thousands of years later once again a monumental project made of
granite to find in the Valley of the Thousend Saints.
Patrice Le Guen a local artist and the co-creator of the concept says:
it is all honoring Brittany and points out the connection of this piece of
earth with granite. Sixty Saints, three meter high stand up granite figures
build a circle of the „Eternals.“
Only very few new houses made from granite, many old ones. As a building
material it has fallen into disrepute because it stores plutonium.
There are bolards, barriers, globes, walls, churches, bridges – and even a bank.
Allan Le Corre managed some quarries at the cote de Granit Rose.
But the demand of pink granite has shrunk. He says: Granite is not
very popular right now, the best years were the 80s, 90s.
The Cote de Granite Rose is a geological rarity that attracts petrologist
from all over the world.
Geologist Jacques Bouffette explains how these rounded stones come to be.
He brings me also to the place of pilgrimage for geologists from around
the world. Jacques did not exaggerate too much.
I have never before seen such an amalgamation of rocks.
Like a folded quilt, the stone rolls down the embankment.
With narrow folds of granite that pokes out like a plush lining.
Fort La Latte is a mighty fortress on the Atlantic A relic from
the middle ages. Built with granite from a nearby quarry near the coast.
The canons in the garden – pointed at England. Not an obsessive
militarist own such place, but I discover the humor of the
grandchildren about the whole thing and love for the Middle Ages.
The grandfather was a scholar – specializing in the historry of the Middle Ages.
When he bought it in 1931, from inside the rooms you could see the open sky.
Our main goal is maintaining the building and passing its history
on to the future generations.
In Brittany, fear and defense seem to have been again and again
the motor for thinking, acting and building.
Mont Saint Michel was a place for pilgrems, then a monastery, then a prison.
When I stop to look at Saint Michel, I'm mainly fascinated by the unusual
length of time it took to construct it. 500 years. The granite that was used
comes from the nearby Chausey Island.
Now it has become the center of attraction for the tourist.
Mont Saint Michel, is, so one says, Frances most importen landmark.
For me it is the symbol of granite incarnate. In the middle of the
thunderous Atlantic.

Filmographic details

Year 2015
Country France
Rights Worldwide
Runtime 52 Min.
Channel Arte
Author Petra Haffter
Director Petra Haffter
Camera Philip Flämig
Audio Mike Glöckner
Cut Arvid Landgraf
Music Damir Price
Production Hennes Grossmann, Nadine Chaussonnière
Editing Susanne Mertens