Crafting an 8-minute animated film for the Cité du Vin of the French city of Bordeaux

Work March 22, 2023

The CIté du Vin (Wine Museum) of the French city of Bordeaux has renewed its permanent exhibition in partnership with the agency Clémence Farrell and the production and post-production team of The Mill Paris. Among the 5 installations created, “When Wine Conquered the World” is an 8-minute animated film in the heart of the permanent exhibition.

  • What was the initial brief?

The Cité du Vin asked us to make an animated film of over 8 minutes, aimed at a mainly adult audience, explaining how mankind has taken wine and vines wherever he has gone to explore. We wanted to take visitors on an epic human journey over the seas through the centuries. Our goal was to create a continuous narrative of adventure using the ship shape of the room and the curved screen to give visitors a powerful experience. We had to provide a solution to clearly understand the transitions from one era to another.
The story had to be accompanied by a voice-over explaining the images. This voice is mainly in French but the text is translated into 7 other languages so that foreign visitors can understand the exhibition with the headphones. This voice should serve to transport the visitor into the story. We could also offer occasional dialogues between the characters. The sound had to be particularly well thought out to arouse the viewer’s senses and contribute to their immersion. Insofar as the texts are translated into headphones, particular attention had to be paid to their audibility, taking care not to have too loud an ambient sound to cover the voices.


  • How did you handle this brief?

In this odyssey, the wine tells its story in the first person. It delivers a unique and passionate testimony that takes visitors on a grandiose historical fresco. The destiny of this drink and its conquest of the world by humans is revealed to visitors. For example, the wine says “I appeared eight thousand years ago, in the highlands of the Caucasus… And already, here I am on the shores of Lebanon – or rather those of Phoenicia. I was born of the earth, but I do not intend to take root. I aspire to wider horizons, to conquer the oceans, to take pride of place on the tables of the whole world, to flow into the gullets of all the continents! “Like the great historical and epic tales that populate the collective imagination, inspired by the writings of Homer, Jules Verne or Herman Melville, our adventure is carried by the narrative voice of the wine itself. The visitor sets off on a journey through time, seas, oceans and even space.

“It soon became clear to us that the narrator should be the wine itself, in order to create a sense of complicity and intimacy with the visitors. By telling us its story, this thousand-year-old human companion offers us a reflection of our own. Romane Bohringer's voice brings a breath of fresh air, a depth that echoes this immemorial story.

The epic character of the wine adventure was our guiding principle. When we take a broad, "bird's eye" view of wine's journey, it appears to us as a sort of Gilgamesh, a mythological hero who constantly evolves to conquer the world. Above all, wine has never ceased to be linked to humans, to their know-how, to their explorations of the world, to their commercial or warlike expeditions, to their entertainment as well as to their mystical rituals. It is this epic, born of the alliance between wine and humans, that has inspired our writing.

In the form, great attention has been given to sensations. To avoid the trap of a "disembodied" digital, we insisted on the personal story, the olfactory sensations, the puffs of drunkenness or the enthusiasm of the departure at sea. The image itself, by reproducing paper cut-outs and folds, recalls nautical charts as much as storybooks. Above all, it brings in matter, the tangible: this history of wine is inscribed above all in the bodies of humans, in the hulls of ships, in the inventory lists of merchants, in letters and missives, in the stories of books.”
Didier Laval, Scriptwriter
“The raw material of our film is paper. Cut, pierced, folded and animated, it allows us to create the settings of our story. The design is minimal, uncluttered. It goes to the essential, in a modern writing, a formal vocabulary accessible and stimulating for all audiences. The material brings what is tangible to echo the naturalist dimension of the story. The paper sometimes becomes a nautical chart, sometimes a folded ship, sometimes a new landscape.”
Nicolas Thépot & Bérangère Lallemant, Directors
  • Regarding the sound and the voice-over, how did you respond to the brief?

Cinematographic, epic and symphonic, Rémi Boubal’s music sculpts the space, envelops the visitor and directs his or her gaze. Chosen in a naturalist register, the sound design favours the impression of realism of the story (reconstitution of atmospheres, conversations, sound effects) and stimulates the visitor’s imagination. A sensitive approach guides the musical composition. It emphasises the rhythm of the narrative and echoes the environments travelled through, the sounds and music of the different peoples crossed. It carries the emotion of the spectator.
Concerning the voice-over, Romane Bohringer’s voice leads the visitor along the paths of wine history. Like a storyteller who cultivates the art of suggestion, she gradually builds a complicity with the visitor, playing with the effects of suspense and changes of situation.


“The modern approach to design and first-person narrative producers a captivating effect in both form and content that is very spectacular. The experience of the visitors is intense, they are literally embroiled in a grand immersive narrative. It is a real satisfaction to see that, whatever the age of the audience, they are all captivated by this show.
Maud Chirat & Hugues Allart, Producers

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