A film by Carlo Tribbioli and Frederico Lodoli
2016, 71 minutes
No. 043


Candid, haunted, and often shocking interviews with high-ranking generals and warlords who fought in Liberia’s First Civil War form the core of this transfixing inquiry into Africa’s modern history and the nature and essence of war itself.

Identified by name, rank, and the number of years served with various military outfits, the testimonies of these men offer candid accounts of this brutal conflict. They describe life in their communities prior to the war, how they were drawn into it, what their days were like during this time, and justifications for their actions. Their haunting recollections are interspersed with snapshots of Liberia’s streets and beautiful mangrove forests, and occasionally of stark and terrifying video footage from the war.

Without ever sensationalizing or simplifying the troubling subject at hand, Fragment 53 allows viewers to question how duty and strength become shaped within the context of warfare; much like the recent documentaries, The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence, which contemplated similar violence and atrocities committed in Indonesia.

* Official Selection, Art of the Real, Film Society of Lincoln Center
* Official Selection, CPH:DOX Film Festival

"The film's power lies in its presentation of the normality of massacre from the per­spective of its perpetrators. The interviews – interspersed with landscape shots – present war as an inevitable facet of history, seen here from the perspective of a country where the machete and not the drone is still the weapon of choice" - Frieze Magazine

"An arresting piece of work." - Sight & Sound