Direction and script: Ben Rivers and Ben Russell. Production: Julie Gayet, Indrek Kasela, Nadia Turincev. Sound: Niels Barletta. Photography: Chris Fawcett. Acting: Robert Aiki and Aubrey Lowe.
Halfway between the ethnographic document the adventure story, this film is like a physical and mental trip, as if the Coppola of Apocalypse Now had met the Werner Herzog of Aguirre or the Wrath of God and they had made a film together. But pay attention, because what Ben Rivers and Ben Russell do is something very personal: diagnosing the exhaustion of ways of life and pointing to some escape routes. Is it enough right now to live in a community, in the midst of nature? Doesn’t that generate a tiredness that can also lead to other things, to the search for other absolutes, like that guy does who ends up escaping from everything, towards the heights? Outrageous in its formal beauty, with an inexhaustible capacity for suggestion, A Spell to Ward off the Darkness is incomparable: its only measure is the point that spectators can reach.