a film by Isabelle Tollenaere

documentary, 85 minutes, DCP.
produced by Michigan Films
co-produced by Wit Films (NL), Tax Shelter Ethique, & Beurschouwburg
In Association with Atopic & Cobra Films.
with the support of Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds and The Netherlands Film Fund


Is a war ever truly over? Battles offers a wondrous view of our discordant world. The film reveals a past that has not passed, by observing the traces that remain in landscape and memory. The troops are long since gone but a ghost army continues to haunt the land.

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 demilitarization. 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.

Battles is a unique world in which the everyday and the extraordinary are observed with equal attention. A twilight zone where past and present, war and play, threat and innocence intersect.


director: Isabelle Tollenaere
Cinematography: Frédéric Noirhomme
Field Recording: Kwinten Van Laethem
Editing: Nico Leunen
Sound design & Mix: Michel Shöpping


- International Film Festival Rotterdam - FIPRESCI AWARD - World premiere
- Visions du réel Nyon - - International premiere
- Beursschouwburg - Belgian avant-premiere
- Docville Leuven - Belgian premiere
- Cinema Zuid, Antwerpen
- Krakow Film Festival
- Olhar de Cinéma, Festival Internacional de Curitiba, Brasil - New views
- Open City Documentary Festival, London - Emerging International Filmmaker
- Singapore International Festival of Arts
- Lima Independiente International Film Festival
- Film Festival Oostende - Belgian Press Prize + Special Mention
- Pacific Meridian International Film Festival
- DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival
- Fidocs, Chile
- Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival
- Bergen International Film Festival
- Nederlands Film Festival
- Filmfestival Hamburg
- Rio de Janeiro Int'l Film Festival
- Festifreak, Argentina
- Underdox München
- Inconvenient Film Festival (Human Rights Festival) - Special Jury Mention
- Viennale
- Filmer à tout prix
- Kasseler Docfest
- Pravo Ljudski Film Festival Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- WATCH DOCS Human Rights in Film International Film Festival
- Trieste Film Festival, Italy
- FICUNAM, Mexico
- Tartu World Film Festival 2015