MY HEART OF DARKNESS by Eden Film & Gebrueder Beetz productions

Four war-veterans, former enemies journey back to past battlefields deep within the African interior in search of reconciliation, forgiveness and … atonement?

Directors Staffan Julén and Marius van Niekerk

“There are two kinds of men, those who dream of war and those who have nightmares of war” Marius van Niekerk

The characters in our film, MY HEART OF DARKNESS, are men who have nightmares of war. Forcefully recruited into the military at an early age, often to fight against their own countrymen. Four men, four stories entwined, four fucked-up lives. Always ready to crack, to strike out even against those they love? Why do they snap awake in the middle of the night, running, sweating, pursued, terrified?

MY HEART OF DARKNESS, a journey of reconciliation into the dark African jungle, into a psyche so tainted with years of colonisation, religious brainwash, superstition and witchcraft, where history seems unnoticed, mistakes repeated over and over again, where lies are true until discovered, where life’s worth as much as a bullet, a journey that took us into the darkest of our own souls.

It is undeniably a story that becomes frightening and cruel the farther we churned up that river. Nevertheless, deep down there is a flicker of hope, of human hope that tells of a will to change and the painful insight that shows the contrast of cruelty and selfishness… to dare to love your enemy.

As story infinite and universal, that all can relate to, even if you haven’t been in a war yourself. As more young boys return from Afghanistan to peaceful Sweden wrapped up in body bags, one often wanders what it take to quench the warmonger’s of this world’s thirst for blood, how many bodies will it take to still their hunger for death and destruction… and what will it take to cleanse all that?

During the nearly four years of working on the film, following the veterans journey up the river, closer and closer to their own hearts of darkness, we too had to delve deeper and deeper into our very own souls, our owns doubts but we had to go there to fully understand this process, to participate in that final blood cleansing ceremony. It was inspiring to watch our characters change and transform from former enemies to friends, and made us realise that veterans the world over, have many similarities and much to share and learn from each other. Deep down there the roots are at work, very often, with no one to encourage them.

They are true role models, risking proving to themselves and also to us, that reconciliation is possible and that war is fucked up, and that most people just want to live a peaceful life.

Stockholm 05 November 2010

Monday, 20 June 2011

2011 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown


My Heart of Darkness in special session 
around the issues of post border war legacy at the 2011 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa July 7-8.  

Marius is invited to participate in a discussions around post border war & ex-conscript issues, a spin-off of preformed venues at the festival. Come meet me there if you interested in my latest film "My Heart of Darkness" co-directed with Staffan Julén (Prize of The Pole), my new film in development"City of Joy-the raped women, their rapist & healers in DRC", discuss latest war trauma issues or just grab a beer.  +46-70-259 56 25.

The Festival and related events that comprise our loose and flexible programme are:
  • Thursday 7 July 11.00: James Clelland and Paul Morris speaking about “Deeper than Colour” at WordFest (Eden Grove Launch Pad)

  • Thursday 7 July 18.30: “Somewhere on the Border” (Victoria Theatre)

  • Friday 8 July 10.00: Anthony Akerman’s lecture on ”Somewhere on the Border” (Eden Grove Blue Lecture Theatre)

  • Friday 8 July 13.30: Think!Fest organisers have agreed to an unofficial screening of Marius van Niekerk’s “My Heart of Darkness” in the Eden Grove Blue Lecture Theatre – we will need to move to another venue for the post-screening discussion.

  • Friday 8 July 15.30: Beginning of semi-private dialogue session in Environmental Education Centre adjoining Eden Grove. Supper will be served at 18.30, after which members of the “Somewhere on the Border” will join the discussions.

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