Emil Langballe & Lukasz Konopa
Denmark, Germany | 2023 | 106 min
Swiss Premiere
Languages : English, Luo, Acoli, French
Subtitles : French, English

At nine years old, Dominic Ongwen was abducted by the LRA, a Ugandan rebel group who forced him to kill. Charged with war crimes, he was tried by the International Criminal Court in 2016. In this powerful film that interrogates the justice system, the filmmakers follow Dominic’s lawyer Krispus Ayena during hearings and as he prepares his defence of the former child soldier.

The International Criminal Court occupies a cubic, functional building in the Hague. It is here, in 2016, that a peculiar battle began between black and blue robes, centred around one man: Dominic Ongwen. Abducted at the age of nine by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group founded by Joseph Kony – nicknamed the “Bloody Messiah” – he was tortured, and then forced to kill. He claims to be innocent of the 70 war crimes of which he is now accused. He is also the first former child soldier to be charged before the ICC: “a victim who became a persecutor,” summarises his charismatic lawyer, Krispus Ayena. Emil Langballe and Lukasz Konopa followed him and his defence team to Uganda in search of evidence and witnesses, as well as during the court hearings. Presented like a legal thriller, with rare acuity and powerful direction, Theatre of Violence interrogates the workings of western international justice, served far from the burning savannahs, blinded by its legitimacy, seeming to abdicate before the complexity of the situation.


Emmanuel Chicon

Emil Langballe
Theatre of Violence, 2023
Q ́s Barbershop, 2019
The Wait, 2016
Beach Boy, 2013

Lukasz Konopa
Theatre of Violence, 2023
Vegas, 2013
After, 2012


Kacper Czubak
Kasper Janus RasmussenPatrick Svaneberg Vejen
Rasmus Stensgaard Madsen
Helle FaberMade in CopenhagenHeidi Kim AndersenThe Danish Film Institute (dfi) / Det Danske Filminstitut
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