EN - A bomb, a bunker, a tank, a soldier - four archetypes of warfare lead us chapter-by-chapter to places in Europe where conflicts have occurred in the recent past. We discover the transformation of people, objects and landscapes after demilitarisation. An old man in a land swamped with bunkers, scenes of a bizarre prison camp at night, the last moments of antique explosives, an army of women working on inflatable artillery… How people live with and between the military traces that surround us. Conflict seems to be near, then far off again, but always absurd.

NL - Is een oorlog ooit echt afgelopen? Deze film biedt een wonderlijke kijk op onze conflictueuze wereld en onthult, door de sporen te observeren die resten in het landschap en de herinnering, een verleden dat niet voorbij is. De troepen zijn sinds lang vertrokken, maar een spookleger blijft rondwaren in het landschap.

Een bom, bunker, tank, soldaat - vier archetypes van oorlogsvoering leiden in evenveel hoofdstukken langs plaatsen in Europa waar zich in een recent verleden conflicten hebben voorgedaan. We ontdekken de transformatie van mensen, dingen en landschappen na demilitarisatie. Een oude man in een land overspoeld door bunkers, bizarre taferelen van een strafkamp bij nacht, de laatste dagen van antieke explosieven, een leger vrouwen werkend aan opblaasbare artillerie... Hoe er wordt geleefd met en tussen de militaire sporen die ons dagelijks omringen. Conflict lijkt dichtbij, dan weer veraf, maar altijd absurd.

Battles is een uniek universum waarin het dagdagelijkse en het buitengewone met evenveel aandacht wordt geobserveerd. Een schemerzone waarin heden en verleden, oorlog en spel, dreiging en onschuld elkaar kruisen.


Title Battles
Original title Battles
Original language Russian, Latvian, English, Dutch
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Docs
Year 2015
World première / first public presentation 2015-01-26


Photography Frédéric Noirhomme
Editing Nico Leunen
Sound Kwinten Van Laethem & Michel Schöpping

Technical specs

Running time film 90'
Aspect ratio 1:1.85
Sound format surround 5.1
Colour Colour


Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)


2015: Bright Future - International Film Festival Rotterdam (NL)

New Flemish documentary work on show in Amsterdam

This year’s International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) presents a batch of new and recent documentary work by Marie Brumagne & Bram Van Cauwenberghe, Sarah Vanagt, Dries Depoorter, Isabelle Tollenaere and Rachida El Garani. Dutch-Flemish co-production A Family Affair opens the Festival on November 18.

Into DarknessInto Darkness by Rachida El Garani has been invited for both the Student Competition and the Kids & Docs Competition at IDFA. The director’s graduation short is about Mohamed, an 11-year-old Moroccan boy whose only dream it is not to turn blind, as have 11 of his family members. Living in poverty and excluded from society, the deeply religious family tries to keep their hopes and dreams alive.

Published on Wednesday 14 October 2015

Five Flemish selections for Visions du Réel

On April 17, Twilight of a Life by Sylvain Biegeleisen is to open the International Documentary Film Festival Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland. The festival programme also includes Battles, The Rabbit and the Teasel and the short film On Difference As Such. A fifth documentary from Flanders, The Colour of the Chameleon, has been selected for the Pitching du Réel co-production platform. Visions du Réel runs from 17-25 April.

Twilight of a LifeTwilight of a Life is an upbeat portrait of a 94-year-old woman confronting the restrictions of her age, and the relationship she has with her son and the film’s director. Although doctors once gave her just weeks to live, she lived another two years. For her son, this became an opportunity to create a film about life, full of humour and emotion.

Published on Thursday 9 April 2015

Flanders well represented in Rotterdam

Several films and co-productions from Flanders were programmed at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR, 21 January – 1 February). Isabelle Tollenaere’s Battles, Sarah Vanagt’s In Waking Hours and Thierry Knauff’s Vita Brevis, a co-production with Flanders, premiered at the festival. Black, Sequenza and Kosmos were also part of the programme, while student shorts The Visitor, The Second of August and Hotel Red Shoes were shown in the Signals: 24/7 section. Finally, the Screen Flanders-supported feature Between 10 and 12 was part of the line-up in the Limelight section.

BattlesIsabelle Tollenaere presented her latest documentary Battles, Sarah Vanagt presented In Waking Hours, and also Thierry Knauff's Vita Brevis premiered at the festival. Black Sequenza, Kosmos were also part of the programme, while student shorts The Visitor, The Second of August and Hotel Red Shoes were shown in the Signals: 24/7 section. Finally, Between 10 and 12 was part of the line-up in the Limelight section.

Published on Thursday 15 January 2015

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Last edited on 10 July 2015

Short info

Director Isabelle Tollenaere
Producers Olivier Burlet
Writers Isabelle Tollenaere

Michigan Films
Olivier Burlet
Rue de Flandre 121
1000 Brussels
T +32 497 87 06 31


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