It’s midnight. Rhodesia’s jungle is dressed in a steaming, reeking black. A propeller is heard in the distance, bearing down upon us. Many years later, stories are still told about Belgian mercenaries creeping around in the dark that night. In the plane is UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and his entourage of fifteen persons, and in a few seconds, they will not exist anymore. From this moment, you can draw a direct line to the Congolese civil war, Mobutu’s regime, the ongoing and accelerating exploitation of Africa and the total post-colonial nightmare as we know it today – all this due to the single incident taking place right now.
Cold Case Hammarskjöld is a film about two things: instinct and doubt. The instinct we can’t ignore and which we must respect as we try to find what we are searching for. And doubt, which always makes us question our pseudo-certainties. In this fascinating and cinematic documentary, these two dimensions always find their place and interact. Cold Case Hammarskjöld remembers something written by one of the most important artists and intellectuals of Italian cultural and cinematic (but also social and political) history. In a 1974 article, Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote about the terrorist attacks that paralysed Italy in the late sixties and seventies: “(…) I know all these names and I know all these facts (attacks on institutions and massacres) of which they are guilty. I know. But I have no evidence.“