Watching the Moon at Night
a new film by award-winning filmmakers Joanna Helander & Bo Persson
produced by Kino Koszyk HB, Sweden
co-production with Film i Väst and Sveriges Televison
with support from the Swedish Film Institute
“As a film commissioner at The Swedish Film Institute during more than three years I read about a thousand scripts, both feature films and feature length documentaries. Among the creative documentaries not a single one had the impact, the intelligence and the scope of ”Watching the Moon at Night.” by Joanna Helander & Bo Persson. It is a rare film on a subject widely talked about – but never quite in this compelling way. The film digs too deeply to be ”politically correct” and becomes a little scary, especially in a country like Sweden where political correctness seems to be the religion of the day. I truly believe that ”Watching the Moon at Night” deserves a wide international audience.”
“The remarkable film “Watching the Moon at Night” shows that it is possible to make the history of terrorism and anti-Semitism intelligible. It presents a panoply of the terrorist phenomena in modern times and in diverse corners of the world. Victims of terrorism, political analysts, philosophers, historians, and psychologists explore this dark side of history. Among the international group of commentators are Walter Laqueur, Andre Glucksmann, and Robert Wistrich. Poems by the Polish poet and Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska sets this story of terror against art, art as solace in a situation of despair.”
Kristian Gerner, professor of History and former chairman of the Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism
Watching the Moon at Night – a 90 minute creative documentary with a personal tone, looks at contemporary terrorism and anti-Semitism. Filmed in six countries, Watching the Moon at Night focuses on the victims’ experiences and juxtaposes them against the views of world experts in this field. As a result, the film goes far beyond the stereotyped perception of terrorism.
We know who the terrorists are but who writes the script and who directs it? Terrorism is not a form of resistance, terrorism is a form of denying the world.
Terrorism can come from the extreme right, from the extreme left, from religious fanatics. Or a mixture of religious fanaticism and nationalism.
What is the connection between European nazism and fascism of the last century and the lethal terrorism of today?
Who are the godfathers of contemporary terrorist groups? Why is poverty assumed to be a root of terrorism?
The terrorist is never a terrorist in his own eyes. Todays´ terrorism is directed mainly at civilians. What are the human rights for victims of terrorism? Why can not the United Nations prevent genocide and terrorism?
Walter Laqueur, the world renowned German-Jewish historian, who left his native Breslau for Palestine on the day before Kristallnacht 1938, is one of the inspirations for Watching the Moon at Night. He is also an important participant in the film which explores the many faces of contemporary terrorism, its frequent connections to anti-Semitism, and its roots in the history of 20th century political violence.
Philosopher André Glucksmann, Historian Robert Wistrich, Lawyer Anthony Julius, Memorial President Sergei Kovalev, Writer and Dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, Chechen lawyer Lidia Yusopova, Anthropologist Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Journalist Kostek Gebert, Dr Zudi Jasser with Syrian background, Iranian Philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo, Ambassador for Combating Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal and Psychologist Henry Abramovitch, are some of the participating experts.
The late Nobel Prize Winner, Wisława Szymborska, contributed her own poems to the film, and reads them in her ingenious way. These are carefully woven into an intricate and dramatic narrative, sensitively mixed with music by the award-winning composers, Zygmunt Konieczny from Cracow, Ruth Fazal from Toronto, Matti Bye from Stockholm and the orchestra Gipzy.cz from Prague.
From Jerusalem to Algeria, from Spain to Moscow and New York, Watching the Moon at Night gives a voice to the victims of terrorist attacks in recent years. With great courage, these men and women reflect on their personal stories while analyzing the political circumstances that claimed the lives of their loved ones. Cherifa from Algeria, Arnold from Jerusalem, Clara from Columbia, Teresa from Spain, Juliette from New York and Michael from Northern Ireland, are but some of those who comprise this strong voice.
Seen for the first time on screen, Dan Alon, an Israeli survivor from the attack on the Munich Olympic Games in 1972, reflects on his experience and its ongoing effect on his life.
The camerawork of award-winning cinematographers Wojciech Staron (Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in the Category Camera, Berlinale 2011) and Radek Ladczuk, gives the visual material of Watching the Moon at Night both poetic and dramatic power.
Kino Koszyk HB, Göteborg & Stockholm