Facets Cinémathèque

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September 9–15, 2016

Chicago Premiere

Neither Heaven Nor Earth
(Ni le ciel ni la terre; aka The Wakhan Front)

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Film still: Neither Heaven Nor Earth Film still: Neither Heaven Nor Earth
"Accomplished, arresting... edgily unnerving"
"Genuinely haunting"
  —New York Times
"At once otherworldly and firmly tethered to stark reality"
  —Village Voice
"Original and well-executed, an intriguing corrective to Hollywood's usual heroics"
  —Film Journal International
"One of the more unusual and effective explorations of modern war and its capacity for bewilderment and piercing damage"
  —Chicago Tribune
"A tense tale of faith and mystery"
"The entire cast is excellent, but [Jérémie] Renier is the standout"

Afghanistan, 2014. A French NATO patrol awaits its scheduled departure from their Fort Apache base, bristling with high-tech gear. As the withdrawal of French troops approaches, Captain Antares Bonassieu and his squad have been assigned a surveillance mission in a remote valley of Wakhan on the border of Pakistan. Despite Antares and his men's determination, control of the secluded valley will slowly fall out of their hands. The unit is on high alert, relations with the villagers are tense, and the Taliban are everywhere and nowhere.

One dark night, his soldiers begin to mysteriously disappear and as the baffled French captain (compellingly played by Jérémie Renier, La Promesse, Lorna's Silence) tries to figure out what happened, the Taliban send out a patrol in search of two of their own men who have similarly vanished. The intensity climbs as further events transpire with no rational explanation and the men, now haunted by dreams, are close to panic, with the only clue to these strange occurrences is a supernatural tale spun by a village teenager.

First-time director Clément Cogitore combines documentary-like realism with the seemingly paranormal to create a metaphor for the incongruities of contemporary war. He transforms the dusty Afghan landscape into a setting for a breathtaking metaphysical thriller, recalling the eerie mystery of Picnic at Hanging Rock and the paranoid horror of John Carpenter's The Thing. Whatever is happening out there is bigger than the war on terror, and far more mysterious.

Directed By Clément Cogitore, 2015, France/Belgium, In French and Persian with English subtitles 100 mins.


  • Fri., Sept. 9 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Sept. 10 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Sept. 11 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Sept. 12–15 at 7 & 9 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation