There Will Be No More Night review – chilling meditation on modern warfare | Movie

Jhis hypnotic meditation on modern warfare by Éléonore Weber is an experimental cine-essay that looks more like a gallery installation than a documentary. Watching it is a bit of a concentration test: 75 minutes of helicopter airstrike footage from the US and French missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clip after clip of pilots following what is happening on the ground hundreds of meters below. Who is in their sights: a Taliban fighter holding a Kalashnikov or a farmer with a rake? Farmers know they are mistaken for fighters, so run and hide their tools when they hear helicopters. Which of course makes them suspicious.

In the cockpit, we hear American voices: “Request permission to engage”. “We have a guy with an RPG.” This is the famous WikiLeaks video dubbed Collateral Murder, a US airstrike filmed from an Apache helicopter in 2007. The rocket launcher turned out to be a camera tripod belonging to a Reuters photographer, who was the one of twelve civilians killed in the attack. It is impossible to watch and not think about computer games. “Kill! Kill! Kill,” we hear in another video — you can almost feel the itch to shoot anything that moves.

Most of the images here show night missions. Like pilots, you want to make sense of what’s happening below, but there’s no sound. And seen through a thermal camera, people are just blurry, glowing silhouettes in the dark. Then comes the strike and they fall like sacks on the ground, formless. Soon all their human warmth will soon be gone and they will become invisible on camera.

It’s an interesting film, although it might work better projected onto the white wall of a gallery. And it may be the translation from the French, but Weber’s morally tired voiceover (read by actress Nathalie Richard) is a little clunky in places.

There Will Be No More Night is available January 25 on Mubi.

Comments are closed.