Sid Perou: Realm of Darkness - Hidden Secrets of Cigalére

Back to Sid's filmography:   This film is devoted to the Gouffre Martel - Grotte de la Cigalère system in the Ariège department in the Pyrenees. The Cigalère is well known for its active water course that is fed by a number of feeders including the Gouffre Martel, and its exploration necessitates the climbing of a large number of well watered shafts. The system is even better known for the staggering beauty of its formations, and particularly for its gypsum and aragonite crystals. It is given very special protection by the French government, and access is controlled by l’Association de Recherche Souterraine du Haut-Lez. When Sid Perou was given permission to film in the still pristine secret chambers, it was on condition that his would be the first and last camera crew allowed into them. The first part of the film provides a dramatised account of Norbert Casteret's original explorations of the 1930s. The second part is devoted to showing exploration work being conducted by l'ARSHaL, and to recording the beauties of the formations. Sid Perou and a number of unnamed French cavers are featured. It was first broadcast on Channel 4 on 21st November 1985, and it went on to win the Grand Prix at the 5th Festival Internacional de Cinema Espeleològic in Barcelona in 1986.