A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness


Ben Russell and Ben Rivers


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Director Ben Russell and Ben Rivers
Completed 2014 Runtime 98



A Spell to Ward off the Darkness is an enquiry into the possibilities of a spiritual existence within an increasingly secular Western culture.

Set in Norway, this creative documentary depicts a single character at three disparate moments in his life.

Long Synopsis

A Spell is a non-fiction feature film in three parts that refers directly to the cinema of Jean Rouch (Chronicle of a Summer), Lisandro Alonso (La Libertad) and Jean-Luc Godard (Sympathy for the Devil), among others.

Shot on color Super 16mm filmstock in the farther reaches of Norway by artist/filmmakers Ben Rivers (UK) and Ben Russell (USA), A Spell depicts a single character at three disparate moments in his late 20s - as a hermit in the solitude of the Arctic Circle, as an uncertain participant in a contemporary 'commune' in the Lofoten Islands, and as the drummer for a neo-Pagan black metal band.

Taken as a whole, A Spell is a direct inquiry into what it means to lead a spiritual existence in an increasingly secular world.

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What people
have said

Avant-garde cognoscenti are surely already in line, yet the film is accessible and often hypnotic on an intuitive level.

New York Times

It is arresting in many ways and concerned to elucidate the experience of being on one's own. Is any other state possible?

The Guardian
Watch the
trailer here