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
Saturday, 3 September 2011
Comments after our Swedish Cinema Premier at Bio Zita Stockholm April 2011
"Marius. Thank you for the courage, the massive 'uithouvermoe'' that it took to get The Story told. The act of 'creation' is a powerful counterpoint to our world's insanity, as well as the madness we all hold within ourselves. 'My heart of darkness' is very powerful and deeply unsettling work, where the circumstance of war transforms ordinary boys into the de-humanised. It howls to us that we have to find another way, than war, to deal with conflict. By obeying your heart's unwavering imperative to undertake a journey confession of truth, both the asking, and the painful cultivation of receiving, forgiveness, you with your amazing team, will help many others who still have to face the memories of war horror: For, 'as you heal yourself, you heal the world.' Blessings on you, my brother."