Why We Fight?

  • Sundance
  • Rotterdam
  • HotDocs

In his debut film, the world-famous choreographer Alain Platel searches for answers as to why certain times are more violent than others, why people seem to have an instinct for violence, why we fight?




90 min


Alain Platel, Mirjam Devriendt



When we’re out of words, the body takes over.

Bérengère, Samir and Russell, three dancers of Platel’s performance Nicht Schlafen, have been dancing a physically violent choreography for almost two years now. Bérengère has just become a mother. Samir grew up in France. Russell saw death during the student protests in Congo in 2015. Through their questions and ideas, the film confronts us with violence in the world but also inside ourselves. At some points they ask for voices with different discipline and expertise. Historian Philipp Blom explains how rapid changes in society lead to fear. 

Koert Debeuf, Middle East specialist, suggests that violence invariably arises to defend those we consider to be family, especially in protectionist times. Nevertheless, art and science have always progressed through the confrontation of two cultures. Berlinde De Bruyckere, an internationally renowned Belgian sculptress, makes art that feels both extremely violent and silent at the same time. And Tinneke Beeckman, philosopher, explains how violence is a necessary part of democracy.

Using various types of imagery and visual metaphors, the film analyses social change, the lack of emotional processing and the power of humanity, that always seems to balance between creating something spectacularly beautiful and something horribly cruel. 

Alain Platel, Mirjam Devriendt

Mirjam Devriendt

Dieter Diependaele

Steven Prengels

Rémonde Panis

Commissioning Editors
Wolfgang Bergmann (ZDF | ARTE)
Simon Vrebos (VRT Canvas)
Isabelle Christiaens (RTBF Télévision belge – Unité Documentaire)

Executive Producer
Tuan Lam

Produced by
Emmy Oost, Magalie Dierick, Christian Beetz

Line Producer
Kathrin Isberner

Why We Fight?
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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