Ashes and Snow

Synopsis: Ashes and Snow, a film by Gregory Colbert, uses both still and movie cameras to explore extraordinary interactions between humans and animals. The 60-minute feature is a poetic narrative rather than a documentary. It aims to lift the natural and artificial barriers between humans and other species, dissolving the distance that exists between them.
63 min

Ashes and Snow

[SUBS por Gonzzza]

If you come to me at this moment

Your minutes will become hours

Your hours will become days

And your days will become a lifetime

To the Princess of the Elephants

I dissapeared exactly one year ago

On that day, I received a letter

It called me back to the place

where my life with the Elephants began

Please forgive me for the silence between us

has been unbroken for one year

This letter breaks that silence

It marks the first of my

three hundred and sixty five letters to you

One for each day of silence

I will never be more myself,

than in these letters

They are my maps of the bird path

And they are all that I know

To be true

You will remember everything

All will be as before

In the begining of time,

the skies were filled with flying elephants

Every night they lay down

in the same place in the sky

And dreamt with one eye open

When you gaze up at the stars at night

You are looking into the unblinking eyes

of elephants, who sleep with one eye open

To best keep watch over us

Ever since my house burnt down

I see the moon more clearly

I gazed upon all the Edens that have fallen in me

I saw Edens that I had held in my hands,

but let go

I saw promises I did not keep

Pains I did not sooth

Wounds I did not heal

Tears I did not shed

I saw deaths I did not mourn

Prayers I did not answer

Doors I did not open

Doors I did not close

Lovers I left behind

And dreams I did not live

I saw all that was offered to me,

that I could not accept

I saw the letters I wished for,

but never received

I saw all that could have been,

but never will be

An elephant with his trunk raised

is a letter to the stars

A breaching whale is a letter

from the bottom of the sea

These images are a letter to my dreams

These letters are my letters to you

My heart is like an old house,

who's windows have not been opened for years

But now I hear the windows opening

I remember the cranes floating above

the melting snows of the Himalayas

Sleeping on tails of manatees

The songs of the bearded seals

The bark of the zeebra

The clicks of the sand

The ears of the caracals

The sway of the elephants

The breaching of whales

And the silhouette of the eland

I remember the curl of the meerkat's toes

Floating on the Ganges

Sailing on the Nile

Ascending the steps of

I remember wandering through the corridors

of Hatshepsut and the faces of many women

Endless seas and thousands of miles of rivers

...I remember father to children...

...And the taste...I remember...

...and the pealing of the peach...

I remember everything

But I do not remember ever having left

remember your dreams

remember your dreams

remember your dreams


The longer I watch the Savanna elephants,

the more I listen, the more that i open,

they remind me of who I am

May the guardian elephants hear my wish

to collaborate with all the musicians of nature's orchestra

I want to see through the eyes of the elephant

I want to join the dance that has no steps

I want to become the dance

I can't tell if you are getting closer or farther away

I long for the serenity I found

when I looked upon your face

Perhaps if your face could be returned to me now,

I would find it easier to recover

the face I seemed to have lost

My own

Feather to fire

fire to blood

blood to bone

bone to marrow

marrow to ashes

ashes to snow

feather to fire

fire to blood

blood to bone

bone to marrow

marrow to ashes

ashes to snow

feather to fire

fire to blood

blood to bone

bone to marrow

marrow to ashes

ashes to snow

feather to fire

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Gregory Colbert

Gregory Colbert (born 1960) is a Canadian filmmaker and photographer best known as the creator of Ashes and Snow, an exhibition of photographic artworks and films housed in the Nomadic Museum. Colbert sees himself as an apprentice to nature. His works are collaborations between humans and other species that express the poetic sensibilities and imaginations of human and animals. His images offer an inclusive non-hierarchical vision of the natural world, one that depicts an interdependence and symmetry between humanity and the rest of life. In describing his vision, Colbert has said, '"I would define what I do as storytelling…what’s interesting is to have an expression in an orchestra—and I’m just one musician in the orchestra. Unfortunately, as a species we’ve turned our back to the orchestra. I’m all about opening up the orchestra, not just to other humans, but to other species.'" more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Ashes and Snow" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 21 Mar. 2023. <>.

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