Bellum - The Daemon of War

Bellum - The Daemon of War

World premiere: Visions du Réel 2021 / International Feature Film Competition

BELLUM - THE DAEMON OF WAR is a film of lenses: In the telescope that points towards the stars, in the viewfinder on a photographer’s camera, in the telescopic sight on an assault rifle, and in the cold and calculating eye of a drone as it flies lifeless overhead. Some are lenses that help us to better understand humanity, while others seem built to take that humanity out of the equation. This is the dilemma that lies at the heart of this documentary, in both its content and its creation, a triptych of stories about the ways in which Western nations choose to cope with war, write the narratives of war, the different ways they find to profit from it, and how they film it.

Opening on Robert Oppenheimer’s immortal quoting of Hindu scripture following the first nuclear test bombings (those that would lead to the horrors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945), BELLUM - THE DAEMON OF WAR moves forward to tell a story of war in the present day. A documentary in three parts, it takes us from the bored war veterans of Indian Springs, an air force base for drone pilots just outside Las Vegas; to a photojournalist shooting images in Afghanistan, pictures of trauma to be glanced at later in cozy galleries; to the Swedish engineer developing AI technology for the defense industry, a digital realm that will ultimately encroach on the biological with the most terrible consequences. In an increasingly technocratic world, war has never been so abstracted. Bellum is a documentary that attempts to zoom in from those distant vantage points of silicon and lines of code to the psychological and physical front lines, all the while pondering the question of who, if not everyone, is complicit? It is a question that will ultimately, inevitably, be asked of the filmmakers themselves.

Sweden, Denmark / 2021 / 87'

David Herdies, Georg Götmark
Narration written by
Johannes Anyuru, Mercies May
Narrated by
Johannes Anyuru
Ida Bregninge, Kristoffer Nordin
Ellis Hallin, Georg Götmark, Camilla Skagerström, Jörgen Lindskog
Krister Linder
Sound design
Ted Krotkiewski
Sound mix
Thomas Jaeger
Hector Mora
Produced by
Momento Film
David Herdies, Michael Krotkiewski
Axel Arnö (SVT), Peter Possne (Film i Väst), Helle Faber (Made In Copenhagen)
Bill Lyon, Fredrik Bruhn, Paula Bronstein
Supported by
Swedish Film Institute, Danish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & Tv Fond, Creative Europe Programme - Media of the European Union, Lindholmen Science Park, The Swedish Art Council
International sales
Deckert Distribution