It is through our sense of smell that we feel, lust and create and yet we know almost nothing about this most direct, primitive and subliminal of our senses. Molly Birnbaum decided to go for a jog, got hit by a truck and lost her sense of smell. She realized that with her smell gone, she not only lost most of her ability to taste, she also lost her connection to the world. Through her personal story, the film embarks on a kaleidoscopic portrait of what is the sense of smell, exploring the rarest of saffrons, exotic perfumes, follows Italian truffle hunters as they explain the aphrodisiac powers of the praised mushroom. Astronaut Chris Hadfield describes the smell of space, food molecule expert François Chartier talks about the sound of flavors, and Guido, a metaphysical perfumer who has created the scent of a woman, explains how his perfume came to be. The film also talks about whale poop, also known as ambergris, the rare and expensive substance that gives perfumes their seductive animalistic odor. Yes, it is all about smell, but also about life.
MORE ABOUT DIRECTOR – Kim Nguyen
Kim Nguyen has directed four fiction features, and his most recent, War Witch, won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 2012; the Best Movie Award at Tribeca, Canadian Screen Awards as well as the Jutra; and was nominated at the Oscars for Best Foreign Language film in 2013. The Empire of Scents is his first incursion into the world of documentary.
FESTIVALS & AWARDS
2015 Visions Du Reel, Switzerland
2015 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece
2014 Montreal International Documentary Festival, Canada
PRESS & REVIEWS
“Empire of Scents with an intriguing element of mystery”
T’Cha Dunlevy, MONTREAL GAZETTE