Documentary / Non-Fiction

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness

Ben Rivers & Ben Russell

Catalog movies
  • Release on March 18, 2015
  • Duration: 1h38
See festivals
Locarno (Opening Film Fuori Concorso)
Valdivia (Disidencias)

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A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness follows an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life. With little explanation, we join him in the midst of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black metal band in Norway.

Marked by loneliness, ecstatic beauty and an optimism of the darkest sort, A Spell is a radical proposition for the existence of utopia in the present.

Starring musician Robert AA Lowe (best known for his intense live performances under the name LICHENS) in the lead role, A Spell lies somewhere between fiction and non-fiction – it is at once a document of experience and an experience itself, an inquiry into transcendence that sees the cinema as a site for transformation.

About the directors

Ben Rivers (b. 1972) studied Fine Art art at Falmouth School of Art, initially in sculpture before moving into photography and Super8 film. After his degree, he taught himself 16mm filmmaking and hand-processing. His practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. His work has been shown in many film festivals and galleries throughout the world, and won numerous awards. His work ranges from themes about exploring unknown wilderness territories to candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects. His feature length film Two Years at Sea was presented in September 2011 in the Orizzonti section at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI prize.

Ben Russell (born 1976 -- USA) is a media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances foster a deep engagment with the history and semiotics of the moving image. He has had solo screenings and exhibitions at the Musem of Contemporary art Chicago, the Rotterdam Film Festival, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Threewalls and the Museum of Modern Art. A 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship and 2010 FIPRESCI award recipient, Ben began the Magic Lantern screening series in Providence, Rhode Island, was co-director ot the Artist-Run Space Ben Russell in Chicago, Il and performed in a double-drum trio called Beast. He currently resides in Paris, France.

  • Director Ben Rivers
  • Director Ben Russell
  • Robert A.A. Lowe
  • Hunter Hunt Hendrix
  • Taraka Larson
  • Nimai Larson
  • Nick Turvey
  • Tuomo Tuovenen
  • Katri Sipalini
  • Nicholas McMaster
  • Weasel Walter
  • Storyline Ben Rivers
  • Storyline Ben Russell
  • Director of Photography Ben Russell
  • Editor Ben Rivers
  • Editor Ben Russell
  • Sound Engineer Philippe Ciompi
  • Sound Engineer Nicolas Becker
  • Sound Engineer Chu Li Shewring
  • Mixing GĂ©rard Lamps
  • chief Lighting Ben Rivers
  • Producer Julie Gayet
  • Producer Nadia Turincev
  • Producer Indrek Kasela
  • Production Rouge international
  • French Distributor (Theatrical Release) Zootrope Films