Manu Riche / Patrick Marnham

Manu Riche , Patrick Marnham / Brussels, Oxfordshire
“Snake Dance”
A lecture performance and a film on the invention of the atom bomb and the loss of innocence
German premiere

Snake Dance

Snake Dance

© Manu Riche

  • Length 2h, (lecture performance 30 min, film 1h 30)
  • In English

Past Dates

When the words “Cold War”, “the War Against Terror”, “never-ending war” are spoken, accompanied by images of a lush, green meadow, these phrases seem strangely abstract. Similarly, photographs of barren hills in New Mexico emanate a calm beauty. But this is where Robert Oppenheimer conceived the plan for the first weapon of mass destruction. The result of the Manhattan Project was tested in the desert in Los Alamos in 1942, finished in 1945 and in August of the same year, it was dropped on Nagasaki. 60 years previously, the art historian Aby Warburg had studied the culture of the Hopi Indians in Los Alamos and had discovered the Rattlesnake Dance. The Hopis used to dance it to confront their fears. Manu Riche and Patrick Marnham follow in Warburg and Oppenheimer’s footsteps in their film “Snake Dance”, in which they document Belgian King Leopold II’s search for uranium mines in the Congo where illegalised miners nowadays dig for cobalt in the mud. The film-makers cross the plains of Mexico to Kreuzlingen, where Warburg was treated for mental health problems, on to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and finally to the nuclear winter of Fukushima. The invention of the atom bomb, says Manu Riche, was the equivalent to opening Pandora’s box. And with it, human innocence was lost forever.

Text Aby Warburg
Adapted by Patrick Marnham
Artistic direction Manu Riche
With Jerry Killick

Script, direction Manu Riche, Patrick Marnham
Editing Michèle Hubinon
Photography Renaat Lambeets
Sound Luc Cuveele
Producer Manu Riche / Riche, Riche & Riche
Co-producers Eric Van Zuylen, RYVA / Wallonia, Suzane Van Voorst, ID TV Docs / Netherlands, James Mitchell, Soho Moon Pictures / Ireland
Produktion manager Geneviève De Bauw / Thank You & Good Night productions, Brussels

Lecture: A production of Kaaitheater, funded by the IMAGINE 2020 – Arts and Climate Change Programme.

Film: With support of Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds VAF (Brussels), Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique, Nederlands Filmfonds, Irish Film Board, Tax Shelter van de Belgische federale regering / coproduction VRT-Canvas