MY HEART OF DARKNESS
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
Friday, 3 June 2011
MY HEART OF DARKNESS - FILM AND PANEL DISCUSSION
FILM AND PANEL DISCUSSION
“TO RECONCILE WITH YOUR ENEMY”
EDEN FILM AND FOLKETS BIO PRESENT
MY HEART OF DARKNESS by Staffan Julén & Marius van Niekerk
Director of Photography - Peter Östlund fsf, Music Composer - Jan Anderson, Editor - Clas Lindberg
MY HEART OF DARKNESS follows Marius van Niekerk and three of his former enemies, from different sides, as they step onto a boat at the mouth of the Kwando River. Marius who was recruited at the age of seventeen into the South African army, later deployed in Namibia and Angola, was forced to leave South Africa into exile in Sweden where he resides and works as a filmmaker. The former soldiers are on a journey back to past battlefields; the sites where they tried to kill each other during apartheid South Africa’s interventions in Namibia and Angola (1975-1992).
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 6.00 P.M. (FILM SCREENING), 7.30 P.M. (PANEL DISCUSSION) AT FYRISBION, SANKT OLOFSGATAN 10, UPPSALA
TICKETS: 75 SEK (65 SEK/STUDENT) / TO BUY TICKETS: 018-15 03 46
Representatives from the Dag Hammarskjöld foundation, The Red Cross Trauma Center and the Swedish Church take part in the following discussion, moderated by Mikael Ohlsson (hosting ”Konflikt” at the Sveriges Radio).
HENNING MELBER(The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation)Henning Melber joined the anti-colonial liberation movement SWAPO of Namibia in 1974. Returning from exile, he became the director of The Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit in Windhoek. In 2000, he took over as research director of the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala. Since 2006, he is the executive director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
ULF GUSTAVSSON(The Red Cross) Ulf Gustavsson is a psychologist and a psychotherapist with a journalistic background. He is the director of the Red Cross Trauma Center in Uppsala where he offers treatment for refugees who have been traumatised by war, torture and abuse.
ELSE BERGLUND(Svenska kyrkan) Else Berglund is a social worker with vast experience from development aid work, including field operations in Sudan and Pakistan. Else works as psycho-social thematic expert of the Swedish Church's humanitarian aid section and has implemented a variety of training courses abroad.
MARIUS VAN NIEKERK(Eden film) Marius van Niekerk, co-director of the film, is a South African filmmaker, photographer and writer. He was forcefully recruited to the South African army during the apartheid time and came in the 80’s to Sweden, where he still resides.