Archive of films Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers / The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers

United Kingdom
2015, 98 min

Section: Imagina
Year: 2016

This feature from one of the most intriguing experimental directors working today takes us to the Moroccan desert where director Oliver Laxe is making his movie Mimosas, but later we find ourselves in Ben River’s own story, and end up asking about the nature of reality versus cinematic illusion. The viewer is invited to be the co-creator of this multilayered, genre-defying film.


In his latest cinematic effort, one of the most prolific experimental film directors working today continues to embrace his original vision of the world, his feeling for subtle humor, for the vastness of the human mind, for absurdity, and for the randomness that life brings. This multilayered, genre-defying picture exists at the meeting point of documentary, fiction, and fable. At its center is an adaptation of a short story by American writer Paul Bowles, which takes us to Morocco, where movie director Oliver Laxe is making Mimosas, but later we find ourselves in Ben Rivers’ own story. In the Atlas Mountains and the endless, surreal Sahara, director Laxe begins to lose himself, not only in the ever-encroaching sand but also in hallucinations emanating from the rawness and visceral cruelty of the local landscape and its inhabitants. What is reality and what cinematic illusion? Do they even exist? As we have come to expect from Rivers, here, too, viewers, as co-creators of the film, will find the answers themselves. And the adventure is thereby all the greater.

Ivana Novotná

About the director

Ben Rivers

Ben Rivers (b. 1972, Somerset, UK) is a seminal experimental filmmaker whose movies are regularly presented in Karlovy Vary’s Imagina section. In 2014 KVIFF organized a complete retrospective of his work, which showcased his original 16 mm short films (including The Coming Race, 2006; Phantoms of a Libertine, 2012) and features (Two Years at Sea, 2011; A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, 2013, co-dir. Ben Russell). Last year the festival screened Things, and this year, in addition to the feature The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015), the short There Is a Happy Land Further Awaay (2015) is part of the program.


Waterlow Park Centre, Dartmouth Park Hill, N19 5JF, London
United Kingdom
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E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Imagina
Director: Ben Rivers
Screenplay: Ben Rivers
Dir. of Photography: Ben Rivers
Editor: Ben Rivers, Benjamin Mirguet
Production: Artangel
Cast: Oliver Laxe
Sales: LUX

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