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

Dag Hammarskjöld Seminar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa 13-15 July.

My Heart of Darkness opens The United Nations and Regional Challenges in Africa 50 Years After the Death of Dag Hammarskjöld Seminar.

A Seminar at the University of Pretoria, 13 to 15 July 2011. Organised jointly by the Department of Political Sciences/University of Pretoria and The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation/Uppsala in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden/Pretoria

Wednesday, 13 July
14.30 to 17.00 hrs
Public Film Screening
“My Heart of Darkness”
Followed by a panel discussion
with the filmmaker Marius van Niekerk
and invited discussants

17.00 Refreshments
17.30 hrs
Public Opening
Dag Hammarskjöld’s Legacy:
The United Nations and Africa

Words of Welcome:
Cheryl de la Rey, Rector of the University of Pretoria
Peter Tejler, the Ambassador of Sweden to South Africa
Hon. Deputy Foreign Minister Marius Fransman
Panel with:
Jan Pronk, Francis Deng, Carlos Lopes, Jan Nordlander, Festus Mogae (tbc)
Maxi Schoeman and Henning Melber

Followed by a light finger supper.

Thursday, 14 July
8.45 hrs Welcoming/Opening Statement (Maxi Schoeman)
9.00 hrs Keynote Address
Henning Melber
Dag Hammarskjöld: Ethics, Solidarity and Global Leadership

Sessions 1
Chairperson: Jan Mutton
9.30 hrs Manuel Fröhlich,
The Role of UN Special Representatives and Envoys in Mediation and Peacekeeping
Comments by Jan Pronk and Francis Deng

10.30 hrs Coffee/Tea

11.00 hrs Alex Obote-Odora
International Criminal Justice in the Shadow of Politics
Comments by Michelo Hansungule

12.00 Laurie Nathan
The SADC Tribunal: regional organisations, human security, human rights, and international law
Comments by Jan Nordlander

13.00 hrs Lunch

14. 00 hrs Erika de Wet
The United Nations Collective Security System in the 21st Century: Increased Decentralization through Regionalization and Reliance on Self-defense
Comments by Ove Bring

15.00 hrs Coffee/Tea

15.30 to 17.00 hrs
Public book launch
Chris Saunders
Dag Hammarskjöld and South Africa
Vasu Gouden/Jannie Malan on African Journal of Conflict Resolution no. 1/2011: “Southern Africa – 50 Years After Hammarskjöld”
Henning Melber on New Routes no. 2/2011:
“Dag Hammarskjöld and the United Nations: Vision and legacy – 50 years later”
Jan Pronk on Development Dialogue no. 56:
“Erskine Barton Childers – For a democratic United Nations and the Rule of Law”

18.00 hrs
Public Evening Roundtable
Mediation, Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Post-conflict Reconstruction
Maxi Schoeman
Panel with:
Festus Mogae (tbc) Jan Pronk, Francis Deng, Monica Juma, Carlos Lopes, Dumisani Kumalo, Kingsley Makhubela (tbc)
Henning Melber

Followed by a light finger supper.

Friday, 15 July
9.00 hrs Keynote Address
Ove Bring
Dag Hammarskjöld´s Approach to International Law

Sessions 2
Chairperson:  Siphamandla Zondi
9.30 hrs Cyril Obi, 
West African Regional Security Architecture with special reference to the Cote d’Ivoire
Comments by Roeland van de Geer
10.30 hrs Coffee/Tea Break
11.00 hrs Kwesi Aning,
Conflict Prevention as Regional Challenge: ECOWAS, AU and UN
Comments by Ayanda Ntsaluba (tbc)
12.00 hrs Concluding Session:
Plenary Debate

12. 30 hrs Lunch Break

13.30 hrs

Public Closing Roundtable
Africa and Global Governance:
International Perspectives for Peace, Security and the Rule of Law
Panel with:
Ove Bring, Monica Juma, Jan Pronk, Francis Deng, Ayanda Ntsaluba (tbc)
Maxi Schoeman and Henning Melber

15.00 hrs Coffee/Tea

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