COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD :: A Mads Brügger documentary

Cold Case Hammarskjöld, documentary


“This could either be the world’s biggest murder mystery, or the world’s most idiotic conspiracy theory.”

This mad historical documentary won the World Cinema - Documentary award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. In it, director Mads Brügger investigates the death of UN General Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld in a plane crash in 1961 in what was then Northern Rhodesia, and looks into the various conspiracy theories that have sprung up around the incident.

Brügger sets out (in the very surreal, meta-documentary opening) to investigate the allegation that Hammarskjöld's plane was deliberately shot down by a Belgian-British mercenary pilot, but soon finds himself on the trail of the South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR) a white supremacist mercenary organisation that allegedly attempted to spread HIV in Africa. For real … possibly.

The Hollywood Reporter called it, “Funny, gripping, crazed. A conspiracy-fuelled murder mystery,” while Screen Daily said it was “Intensely entertaining.” “One of the most honestly disturbing and provocative nonfiction films in years… It chills us,” said Variety. “Cold Case Hammarskjöld doesn’t offer the last word about the issues it raises. But it’s a movie that should be seen, grappled with, argued with, and experienced, because the questions it plants in us are dark enough to reverberate as powerfully as answers.”

Danish filmmaker and TV host Mads Brügger is known for his ironic documentaries. His 2011 film, The Ambassador, prompted the Liberian government to institute legal proceedings against him due to the embarrassment it caused the country after Brügger bought himself a black market identity and impersonated a Liberian ambassador to expose the trading of diplomatic titles in Africa and the exploitation of the gem trade by diplomatic officials.


:: Won Best Director, World Cinema: Documentary at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize 
:: 2019 Nominee for the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards’ Most Innovative Documentary
:: Won the Golden Butterfly at The Hague Movies that Matter Fest, 2019  
:: Won Best Director at the 2019 One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
:: Won the Audience Award at the 2019 Cinetopia Film Festival
:: Won Best Documentary Feature Film at the 2019 Greenwich International Film Festival 
:: Won Best Feature or Medium-Length Documentary in the International Competition at the 2019 It's All True - International Documentary Film Festival 
:: Won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2019 Lighthouse International Film Festival 
:: 2019 Nominee for the Biografilm Festival’s Best Film Unipol Award
:: 2020 Nominee for Cinema Eye Honors Awards, US for Outstanding Achievement in Direction 
:: 2019 Nominee for the London Film Festival Grierson Award 
:: 2019 Nominee for a European Parliament LUX Prize
:: 82% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes