Between 1950 and 1966 thousands of men moved up to the Alps in the Valais, a natural landscape of rocks and ice. They built a civilisation limited in time: villages made out of barracks on the cliffs of the mountains similar to Tibetan cloisters. They blew up a 160 km long tunnel labyrinth into the rocks, beneath the Matterhorn and several other gigantic mountains, through which the water from 35 glaciers runs to the highest dam of the world, the Grande Dixence.
The time of the titans, the memories of the concrete abyss
Underneath the Alps of Valais, in French Switzerland, lies an enormous tunnel labyrinth that carries the waters of more than thirty glaciers towards the largest dam in the world: "La Grande Dixence". The great project was the result of the work of thousands of people who cast their lot and that of their family in the middle of the rocks and settled, during the fifties and sixties, in a populous village of concrete dreamers. The very Jean Luc Godard was one of them and his film Operatión Béton appears several times in the documentary to illustrate those moments.
The Time of the Titans is another cinematic approach by Swiss author Edgar Hagen to dig into the psyche of men and the events that shock their life. In this way, he accompanies several miners and intellectuals who were part of this huge work in his return to the cold precipice that was once theirs and now are only ruins. In the testimonies of those men who achieved economic progress and lifelong friendships immersed in that great futuristic operation there is much of nostalgia, but also fear and solitude.
Among other transparencies given to us by the characters are their tales of survival after a work accident in the tunnel they built themselves, philosophical considerations about the scale of that chimerical adventure of iron and concrete or the apocalyptic descriptions of images of explosions, fumes and snow particles. The atmospheric potential of words is undoubtedly one of the achievements of the documentary, a dimension that makes it a psychological journey towards an unrepeatable life experience.