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Conrad described the greed that was about to fall on the Congo and the determination to strip everything out of it and take it away for our benefit… There is a complete lack of mutual interest between those who govern, develop or profit from the Congo and those who live there.’ Alongside the often disturbing Congolese footage, features classical music and stunning landscapes of the New Mexico desert.
One paradox Riche explores is that Oppenheimer and his fellow scientists relished their work together, even if they were ‘working on something like hell.’ They were based in a remote, beautiful location. and yet, they were leaving destruction in their wake.
The effects of the bomb are still felt today everywhere from New Mexico to Congo to Japan. ‘They (the book and the film) are two people’s regards on the same material. ’ Beethoven and Chopin Riche and Marnham ventured to present-day Congo where they discovered western powers still jostling for the country’s uranium and other natural resources.
While researching the film, Marnham decided to write a book on the same subject. They met illegal miners trying to extract cobalt from underneath a girls’ school.
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Marnham points to the continuity of exploitation of the country by western powers stretching back to the time of Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart Of Darkness’ in the late 1890s.
‘The strange thing is that you can read that book at any time and every time you do, there is a new insight into what is happening today.
‘Warburg slowly became to dominate our film, didn’t he! ‘His ideas were so interesting.’ ‘The film is about a real point of view about something we as human beings are missing… It is also asking how can we talk about something that happened yesterday in the present tense.’ I am always worried about an audience that is too comfortable!
that stream of thoughts that was forgotten and almost bombed away in 1945,’ Riche agrees. ’ –Manu Riche The Indian rituals were the inspiration for Warburg’s celebrated Kreuzlingen lecture in 1923 in which he argued the significance of mythical and symbolical thinking – and demonstrated his own sanity in the process.
‘The Congo is a complex story in the history of Belgium,’ Riche reflects.