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The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers 12 rating

Britain’s brilliant experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers (Two Years at Sea) presents this haunting desert parable which follows a filmmaker’s abduction and ritual humiliation.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 2015 95 mins

Director: Ben Rivers


With its enigmatic title coming from a whispered warning overheard by Paul Bowles in a Tangier café in the 1940s, Ben Rivers’ new film is the feature element of his Artangel installation at BBC White City. It is inspired by ‘A Distant Episode’, a shocking short story by Bowles in which a European man is abducted by bandits and forced to wear a costume made from old tin lids and dance for the entertainment of his captors.

Rivers’ interpretation, which is shot in stunning 16mm Cinemascope, blurs the line between fiction and documentary to delve into the different levels of reality created during the filmmaking process itself (not least because it shares footage with Oliver Laxe’s simultaneously shot 2016 feature, Mimosas). It creates a new vision out of the cultural and physical debris left behind by Western film crews who themselves have been using the Morocco landscape and people to create fictional worlds.