'The Sound of Insects' wins EFA doc prize

Swiss director Peter Liechti's experimental film

COLOGNE, Germany -- "The Sound of Insects – Record of a Mummy," an experimental film combining documentary and literary elements from Swiss director Peter Liechti, has won this year's Prix Arte for best European documentary.

The haunting film is based on the novella "Until I am a Mummy" by Japanese writer Shimada Masahiko, itself based on the real-life journal of a man in a remote forest who committed suicide by self-starvation. A hunter stumbled over his mummified remains in a makeshift tent.

The Prix Arte jury of Austrian producer Franz Grabner, Russian documentary filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky and Georgian actress/director Nino Kirtadze praised "The Sound of Insects" for "its skillful exploration of minimalist means to create and extraordinary visual story between life and death."

The documentary first screened at Toronto's Hot Docs festival, with an English narration performed by Canadian filmmaker Peter Mettler ("Petropolis").

"The Sound of Insects" beat out more political docs, including "The Heart of Jenin" from German directors Leon Geller & Marcus Vetter and "Burma VJ," Danish director Andres Ostergaard's look at the protest by thousands of Burmese monks in 2007.

The Prix Arte will be awarded as part of the 22nd European Film Awards on Dec. 12 in Bochum, Germany.