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230 Ratings


Directed by Isabelle Tollenaere
Belgium, Netherlands, 2015


The echoes of war also reverberate in peacetime. Battles takes a patient look, sensitive to tragedy and comedy, at the traces of battle in the landscape: A bunker in Albania, exploded ammo in Belgium, Russian women sew inflatable war material, and a Latvian military camp tourist attraction.

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Battles Directed by Isabelle Tollenaere

What are people saying?

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Battles

    A very sensitive, aesthetically compelling film with strong and impressive cinematography (especially regarding very small, atmospheric details), showing how different (and sometimes bizarre) we live and arrange ourselves with the remains and memories of war and battle.

  • Kevin Matthews's rating of the film Battles

    Four main tools of warfare are used to break up this look at how countries and people are affected by not just the act of warfare, but also the industry of it, and the ongoing after-effects. A decent, interesting, film from writer-director Isabelle Tollenaere.

  • ASRagab's rating of the film Battles

    A subtle and touching narrator-less filmic meditation about the looming, haunting remains of the industrial and human machines of war. The battle scars of the past run through a glamourless present-day Europe and Russia in poignant relief, while in the background the ever present spectre of violence stands in waiting, acknowledged only briefly in the dead eyes of Vladimir Putin on a TV screen, watching on.

  • YellowDog's rating of the film Battles

    This movie sort of wanders, like a ghost—patiently investigating what remains after conflict ends. It’s very well shot, it has an interesting and sparse soundtrack made up mostly of ambient sounds, and the chapters are nice. However, I wish the movie had fit in 4 or 5 more examples. I liked its style, but I feel it could have dug deeper, hit a little harder, and got a little more dirt under its fingernails.

  • tinderness's rating of the film Battles

    Dem Echo der vergangenen Kriege begegnen wir in diesem oft atemberaubend stillen Film, der uns das Sehen lehrt und uns darüber nachdenken lässt, dass wir vielleicht nur im Warteraum des Krieges leben: nach dem letzten, vor dem nächsten. Eine beeindruckende Arbeit von IsabelleTollenaere, die uns einen Film lang diesen Gedanken zumutet und unbarmherzig nachhängen läßt.

  • Isaac's rating of the film Battles

    Por quanto tempo dura uma guerra? Neste documentário impressionante, Tollenaere nos prova a afirmativa de Heidegger que as guerras cessam mas não desaparecem. Suas reminiscências estão por toda parte da vida ordinária. Em forma de celebrações mas também de armamentos ocultos que sobraram. Os ecos da guerra vão além das fronteiras do tempo. Seus arquétipos se transformam, mas não se encerram. Belo e profundo.

  • Jamie Steele's rating of the film Battles

    Another entry in the new cadre of Belgian cinema - with a film funded by the Tax Shelter and the VAF of Flanders. Structured in chapters, the video essay moves seamlessly between Belgium and Eastern Europe, exploring the theme of war. Static framing and lingering shots open up more questions on the film's theme. The final chapter on the creation of inflatable accessories with war is neatly contextualised.

  • ejonline's rating of the film Battles

    In the end, this didn't really work for me. It brought to mind a sarcastic quip by Randy Newman - "I was all in favor of war until I heard U2 sing a song against it." I can appreciate the sentiment here, but I'm not sure that it gets at things I have not seen other places. In some ways, I think the problem that I had was the density of ideas to the time spent - there wasn't as much to think about as I wanted.

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