Born in Kinshasa, Zaire, Belgian filmmaker Thierry Knauff makes his feature debut with a visual tour-de-force about the coexistence of beauty and violence, good and evil. The film creates a series of poetic riffs by juxtaposing eerie images of nature and architecture with images of political atrocities; only the recurring motifs of tall trees (a source of life) and children at play (hope for the future) bind them into an organic whole. The mesmerizing sound track, similarly random yet meditative, mixes ambient sound with songs and recitations by women from troubled regions. In one bravura sequence Knauff shows antiaircraft towers from the Nazi era casting shadows over present-day Vienna as a voice-over describes the lurking menace of letter bombs to postal workers. The accumulation of evocative images and narrative fragments is so powerful that it manages to overcome a certain naivete in the film’s politics. 68 min.