section Facing the Fear – Cinematic reflections on terror, trauma and resistance


  • Carl Javér
  • SE/NO/DK
  • 2018
  • 91

On the black floor of a hall Rakel, Mohammed, Jenny and Torje sketch the outlines of their memories of July 22, 2011 with white adhesive tape. The lines trace paths, bushes and cliffs from the site of the attack, the Norwegian island of Utøya, and mark the starting point of a process of collective, performative trauma resolution.

Together with a group of young people they reconstruct their individual memories of the right-wing terrorist attack in Norway, during which 69 people – many of them children and adolescents - were murdered. In the hope of being able to confront this traumatic event and, at the same time, share their own experiences with their peers, the four survivors re-enact what they went through in a minimalist, reduced manner. In a shared process of speechlessness, grief and understanding, they have the other young people re-enact what happened by giving a series of instructions that the latter follow. The documentary accompanies them in a manner both reserved and sensitive, allowing the participants a safe space for their stories, emotions and questions. All the while, it is the very abstractness of the film's staging that makes the unimaginable tangible.

Text: Merlin Webers
English: Peter Rickerby



international title RECONSTRUCTING UTØYA


JFBB section Facing the Fear – Cinematic reflections on terror, trauma and resistance

  • director Carl Javér

country/countries SE/NO/DK

year 2018

duration 91

Portrait of Carl Javér

Carl Javér

BIO Carl Javer is a leading Swedish documentary director who has pioneered digital, small team, intimate, observational filmmaking across a number of longform documentaries. His documentary features have won awards across Europe and internationally, including the US, Canada and Korea most notably Freak Out which was broadcast all across Europe. His best known films are Freak out (2014), The Crash (2010) High School (2001), Tel al Zaatar -- The Road Back (1997).