Mathieu Le Lay comes from France and works as a director and cinematographer. After he graduated in wildlife conservation at the University of Salford he decided to study for one year at IFFCAM which is a wildlife film school. Mathieu is keen on visual poetry and images that depict freedom and rare beauty. The aim of his films is to tell genuine stories, inspire people to travel and discover.
Echo of the Wild gives us a glimpse into the life of Nelu, a lonely horse-keeper, who lives in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania, in Romania.
To see a man live alone, distant from other people, shops, schools, communities firstly gives us the impression of anxiety. What to do here? How to entertain myself everyday? How to survive without meeting friends, routinely work with colleagues, dine with girlfriends, how to survive without seeing any movies, without chatting online, visiting galleries, places, cities? You imagine all the beautiful things a modern life brings and also those which a modern life makes you think you can’t live without. And yet, all of it is gone. You are alone. Everything you’ve got is offline, here, in nature.
The din of the silence is exactly what Nelu needs, what he’s been born into. To finally make the contrast of civilization and solitude real, you have to close your eyes and see, shut your mouth to let your soul speak, and ears in silence, they can finally hear. This is a place where your busyness does not enter. Here you have time to contemplate, admire, pray, love (yourself). You can live in simplicity.
My name is Nelu, Nelu of the horses. I will soon turn 63. I‘ve spent all my life here. Since 33 years, I’m here with the horses and this is my job. I can start my retirement now. Just to survive.
Nelu is a happy man. To devote life to animals and nature takes courage, but in the end Nelu sees the fruits of his choice. All he needs is a little cottage, own food and horses. All over again, every day. So little and at the same time so much for one person.
We are here in Apuseni mountains. In the mountains of Fericenilor. This is the name of our village: Ferice (Happy). There are a lot of happy people here! …. And there is always something to do for the horses. I like to be here with them as much as they do. And I have a lot of time to learn here, that’s for sure.
As happiness might mean something different for every person, it is awesome to be diverse in being and in living. Nature is what Nelu chose, and what makes him what he is. That’s something that might inspire us. Just to long a little bit for freedom. Feel the desire to spend a day or two somewhere in the woods. Alone. So that we can stop the rush and hear the silence.
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