My Heart of Darkness

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

News

  • 12/2011 - ‚My Heart of Darkness’ awarded as best documentary in Luanda

    We are proud to announce that ‚My Heart of Darkness’ won the award as best documentary at the 4th International [...]

    We are proud to announce that ‚My Heart of Darkness’ won the award as best documentary at the 4th International Film Festival in Luanda (18th to 24th of November 2011). Click on the following link to view a picture of the director at the festival:

    'My Heart of Darkness' Images


  • 09/2011 - Premiere of “My Heart of Darkness” at Cinema Babylon Mitte, Berlin

    We are very pleased to report that “My Heart of Darkness” by Staffan Julén and Marius van Niekerk successfully premiered [...]

    We are very pleased to report that "My Heart of Darkness" by Staffan Julén and Marius van Niekerk successfully premiered September 27th 2011 at Cinema Babylon Mitte, Berlin. In addition to both directors, Wolfgang Manig from the Department of Foreign Affairs was our guest. After the screening a lively discussion emerged between the audience and the guests. You can get an impression here:

    My Heart of Darkness


  • 09/2011 - Premiere of “My Heart of Darkness” at the cinema Babylon Mitte in Berlin

    We cordially invite you to the cinema premiere of “My Heart of Darkness” on Tuesday, September 27th 2011 at 8 [...]

    We cordially invite you to the cinema premiere of "My Heart of Darkness" on Tuesday, September 27th 2011 at 8 pm at the cinema Babylon Mitte in Berlin (Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30). The film screening is part of the series "Cinema Africa". Afterwards there will be a panel discussion with the directors Marius van Niekerk and Staffan Julén. We are looking forward to your attendance!



My Heart of Darkness

Four war veterans from opposing sides step onto a boat at the mouth of the Kwando River, deep within the African interior. They are on a journey back to the battlefield, the site of the last “great” battle of the Cold War – an inconclusive and very secret Armageddon in which they, as youngsters, once tried to kill each other. But now, twenty years later, they’ve come together as former enemies, a new unit of disparate souls united by their shared tormenting war trauma as well as their need to understand, to reconcile, to forgive.

Buried in their baggage each has brought along a box of memories, trinkets from the war, memorabilia. Every veteran has one – little collection of horrible things. Our four are taking theirs back, back to the battlefield to confront their nightmares. Up there somewhere, deep inside the bush, a village awaits them – a ceremony to once and for all cleanse them, rid them of their nightmares, and welcome them back from the war, back into the community.

As their boat churns upriver and they wind their way up north, as memories crowd in like the endless savannah on either side of the slowly passing riverbank, our four veterans are introduced – first Marius, the white South African, with his quest to come to terms with nightmares of the enemy soldier he decapitated; then Samuel, from Angola, tormented by the souls of 8000 women accused of witchcraft and burned. Patrick, also from Angola, still sees the head of his best friend being blown off in front of him after saving him from an exploding helicopter. And the fourth, Mario the Bushman, filled with guilt of betraying his own people, the outcast San people, squeezed between all sides of the war.

The further they travel up that river, the closer they get to their hearts of darkness, the more enmity and anguish creeps in amongst them like a new hidden enemy, at times unbearable, evasive. Why do I feel so alone, so misunderstood, even with those who share my unspeakable memories?

Four men, four stories entwined, four fucked-up lives. Why am I always ready to crack, to strike out even against those I love? Why do I snap awake in the middle of the night, running, sweating, pursued, terrified?

Shot against a spectacular backdrop of the African savannah, heaven, and juxtaposed to the veteran’s stark, hellish reality, this is a film of unthinkable suffering, of grotesque bestiality and meaningless violence, of disappointment – but most of all of hope. In the final analysis it may seem impossible to find resolution, to find forgiveness or eventual reconciliation, but underneath all this a strong denominator steers the course of our four veteran’s lives onto a path that will, inevitably, change them forever.

The world has gone on to new and different issues, some trying to be solved by the same violent means, but they, these four, are still doing time, are still locked in the psychological purgatory of memory. They may once have moved heaven and earth to see each other dead, but now they’re on the same side: Victims of history, sufferers of PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, together, they are going back to past battlefields, hopeful to find answers for the future as well as trying to rediscover what was taken from them – their humanity.

The veterans
Marius van Niekerk
Samuel Machado Amaru
Patrick Johannes
Mario Mahonga
Narrator: Marius van Niekerk
Director: Staffan Julén
Co-Director Marius van Niekerk
Screenplay: Marius van Niekerk
Staffan Julén
Director Of Photography:  Peter Östlund FSF
2nd camera / 1st camera assistant: Bengt Widell
Original Music: Jan Anderson
Editor: Clas Lindberg
Sound Editorial by Housework Stockholm
Supervising Sound Editor: Jan Anderson
2nd camera assistant / logg: Majaq Julén
Sound technician: Malcolm Kangueehi
Grip/Location Manager: Gherson Gawanab
Sparks: Jeronimo Haimbodi
Technical RED Supervisor: Johan Asplund
Graphic Design: Johan Edström
Sync:  Majaq Julén
Adam Salomon Ringart
Line Producer, Germany: Kathrin Isberner, Sweden: Johan Liljeström
Production Supervisor, Germany:  Daniela Schöne
Production Manager, Namibia: Carol Muller
Co-Producer Germany: Christian Beetz

Koproduktion

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Kooperation

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Förderer

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  • My Heart of Darkness

    Munt 11 cinema, IDFA - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    20 November 2010 at 2:00 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Munt 13 cinema, IDFA - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    21 November 2010 at 11:45 am

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Munt 09 cinema, IDFA - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    22 November 2010 at 11:15 am

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Brakke Grond Expozaal cinema, IDFA - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    25 November 2010 at 3:45 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Tuschinski 3 cinema, IDFA - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    26 November 2010 at 1:30 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Tuschinski 4 cinema,IDFA - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    27 November 2010 at 11:15 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    34. Göteborg Filmfestival - Göteborg, Sweden
    28 January 2011 at 5:30 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    34. Göteborg Filmfestival - Göteborg, Sweden
    31 January 2011 at 8:00 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    34. Göteborg Filmfestival - Göteborg, Sweden
    05 February 2011 at 10:00 am

  • My Heart of Darkness

    National Arts Festival - Grahamstown, South Africa
    07 July 2011 at 11:00 am

  • My Heart of Darkness

    National Arts Festival - Grahamstown, South Africa
    08 July 2011 at 10:00 am

  • My Heart of Darkness

    National Arts Festival - Grahamstown, South Africa
    08 July 2011 at 1:30 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    National Arts Festival - Grahamstown, South Africa
    08 July 2011 at 3:30 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Dag Hammarskjöld Seminar - University of Pretoria, South Africa
    13 July 2011 at 2:30 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness - Cinema Premiere

    Babylon Mitte - Berlin, Germany
    27 September 2011 at 12:00 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    ZDF
    20 August 2013 at 12:20 am

  • My Heart of Darkness

    Arte
    25 November 2013 at 11:45 pm

  • My Heart of Darkness

    arte
    27 April 2016 at 1:15 am