EN - Filmmakers Manu Riche and Patrick Marnham join forces to tell the story of the invention of the atomic bomb and its unintended consequences in today’s world. From booming New Mexico to war-stricken Congo and earthquake-devastated Japan, Snake Dance offers a compelling reflection on the Promethean dimension of nuclear power and the A-Bomb.

NL - Met de uitvinding van de atoombom heeft de mens de voorwaarden voor zijn eigen ondergang geschapen. Landen zijn in een nucleaire 'danse macabre' verstrikt geraakt, gedreven door een primaire angst. Snake Dance volgt de voetsporen van de vader van de bom, Robert Oppenheimer, en de Duitse antropoloog Aby Warburg, die rond 1900 een studie maakte van de Pueblo-indianen uit Los Alamos. De visueel poëtische reis voert langs het lege Los Alamos, de uraniummijnen van Congo en het onlangs opnieuw door een kernramp getroffen Japan. Zonder gebruik te maken van archiefbeelden geven de makers een persoonlijke interpretatie van het rampzalige besluit van de mensheid om voor God te spelen.

FR - Deux scénaristes expérimentés, le réalisateur Manu Riche et l’écrivain Patrick Marnham unissent leurs forces pour raconter l’histoire de l’invention de la bombe atomique et ses conséquences inattendues sur le monde actuel.

Des bombardements au Nouveau-Mexique au Congo touché par la guerre et au Japon dévasté par les tremblements de terre, Snake Dance propose une réflexion sur les dimensions prométhéennes du pouvoir nucléaire et de la bombe A.


Title Snake Dance
Original title Snake Dance
Original language English, French
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Docs
Year 2012
World première / first public presentation 2012-04-16


Photography Renaat Lambeets, Ross McDonnell
Editing Michèle Hubinon
Sound Paul Heymans, Luc Cuveele
Music Jun Kanno
Narration Patrick Marnham

Technical specs

Running time film 85'
Release format HD (Arri Alexa)
Aspect ratio 16/9
Colour Colour
Available in 2D


Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Irish Film Board, Nederlands Film Fund, Centre du Cinéma et de l'audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Tax Shelter scheme of the Federal Belgian Government
Production partners Soho Moon (James Mitchell), IDTV Docs (Suzanne van Voorst), RyVA Production (Eric van Zuylen)


2012: Filmfest Hamburg (D), IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (NL)

IDFA: Snake Dance Redux

It’s a long and intriguing journey from a mental asylum in Germany after the First World War to the New Mexico desert at the time J. Robert Oppenheimer was working on the atomic bomb; from there on to the Belgian Congo and then to contemporary, post-Fukushima Japan. However, Snake Dance, the new doc from Belgian filmmaker Manu Riche and English writer Patrick Marnham, draws some surprising and very provocative links between all these very different worlds.

Still from Patrick Marnham and Manu Riche's Snake DanceAs Snake Dance reveals, in1895, German art historian and anthropologist Aby Warburg had visited New Mexico. He became fascinated by the rituals of the Indians, who would dance with rattlesnakes to master the power of lightning.

Published on Tuesday 20 November 2012

IDFA: Flanders docs out in full force

Five documentaries as well as two projects from Flanders have been selected for this year’s 25th IDFA. The five docs are Rain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette, The Sound of Belgium by Jozef Devillé, Expecting by Fabio Wuytack, Snake Dance by Manu Riche and Patrick Marnham, and The Wave by Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire. Projects from two Flemish documentary makers –The Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez and White Elephants by Kristof Bilsen – are also selected for the IDFA Forum.

Fabio Wuytack's ExpectingRain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette features in the First Appearance competition and follows a ballet production from initial auditions right up to opening night. Producer is Bart Van Langendonck for Savage Film. In Expecting (pictured left), which is selected for the IDFA Panorama, director Fabio Wuytack portrays an Afghan-Kosovan refugee couple as they struggle through their daily lives. The Sound of Belgium by Jozef Devillé and produced by Visualantics is part of the Music Documentary competition and explores the rich, untold story of Belgian dance music.

Published on Friday 16 November 2012

Flanders docs bonanza at 25th IDFA

Five documentaries from Flanders as well as five co-productions are selected for this year's 25th edition of IDFA (14-25 November). The five are: Rain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette, The Sound of Belgium by Jozef Devillé, Expecting by Fabio Wuytack, Snake Dance by Manu Riche, and The Wave by Sarah Vanagt and Katrien Vermeire. Projects from two Flemish documentary makers, The Shadow World by Johan Grimonprez and White Elephants (working title) by Kristof Bilsen, can also be found in the IDFA.

Olivia Rochette & Gerard-Jan Claes's docu RainRain by Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette features in the First Appearance competition for first documentaries. On 25 May 2011, the world-renowned Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris presented Rain, in its first ever performance by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes followed the rehearsal process from the auditions to the opening performance. Producer is Bart Van Langendonck for Savage Film.

Published on Tuesday 16 October 2012

Swiss Buyens-Chagoll Award for Snake Dance

Snake Dance, Manu Riche and Patrick Marnham’s documentary about the invention of the atomic bomb, has been awarded the Buyens-Chagoll Award, worth CHF5,000, at Switzerland’s Visions du Réel festival (20-27 April). The jury praised the film’s exceptional originality, its ethical and aesthetic values, and its unusual approach in tackling a subject like nuclear power without using any archive footage.

Snake Dance, which received its international premiere at Nyon’s Visions du Réel fest, revolves around the choices modern man has to make if he wishes to survive.

Published on Monday 30 April 2012

A Flemish touch to Belgian festival bills

This week, the Open Doek Festival (20 – 29 April) kicked off in Turnhout, while Leuven is getting ready for the 8th edition of the International Documentary Festival DOCVILLE (27 April – 5 May). Both programs house a large selection of Flemish titles, ranging from Daniel Lambo’s Dry Branches of Iran to Berlinale attendees Anton Corbijn Inside Out andAsparragos.

Christoph Bohn's The Boy is GoneFor the eighth consecutive year, DOCVILLE highlights the best documentaries and awards prizes in various sections. This year, Flanders is well represented in its national competition with more than ten short and feature-length film titles.

Published on Wednesday 25 April 2012

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Last edited on 9 December 2014

Short info

Director Manu Riche, Patrick Marnham
Producers Manu Riche
Writers Manu Riche, Patrick Marnham

Riche, Riche & Riche
Victor Hugostraat 17
1030, Brussels
T 32 2 245 59 51


Le village
07170 Lussas
T +33 4 75 94 34 67
F +33 4 75 94 25 09

Website www.snake-dance.net
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