A film by Hannie van den Bergh and Jan van den Berg
Neutrino is a poetic-philosophical documentary showing the interconnectedness of an elementary particle, ‘countless gods’, picking chestnuts, pixels on a computer screen and the art of tofu making. In encounters with colourful scientists and villagers, the film shows how the elusive elementary particle called “neutrino” manages to bridge the gap between scientific research and village life, between the invisible quantum world and tangible reality, and between the will to know and the magic of not-knowing.
Fascinated by an eccentric elementary particle, the filmmakers embark on a research journey to the Super-Kamiokande Neutrino Detector, a prestigious physics experiment at a depth of more than a thousand metres deep in a mountain in Japan. In the village on that mountain, international scientists live and work alongside the local people and their spiritual leaders. Thus, two worlds come together that at first glance have nothing to do with each other. The living world of the elderly residents of a former mining village, and the research world of international physicists conducting scientific research inside that same mountain. While one group focuses on the visible nature they live with – the mountains, trees, animals, water, and wind – the other looks only at the “invisible nature” of the neutrino; because of the question of whether the so-called ghost particle can explain the origin of the universe.
Set in a few hundred square metres in, on and around Mount Ikeno-yama, the film meanders between different perspectives on the elusive neutrino and the questions it raises about nature, the cosmos and invisible and magical things of life. We get to know the scientific gaze of international neutrino researchers with their eye-opening research facilities. We learn about the spiritual gaze of a Buddhist monk and a Shinto priest with their ancient temple and shrine. And we meet the colourful indigenous villagers and a local schoolgirl, who, above all, deal soberly with “the unknown”, and give it a place of its own, in the tangle of daily life in and around their “House of Dreams”.
What starts as a personal journey of discovery for physics knowledge transforms into a universal, existential quest.
More about the directors
Duration 77 min
Language English, Japanese, Dutch
Filming Location Mozumi (Kamioka city), Japan
Delivering Date Summer 2023
© 2023 seriousFilm KRO-NCRV (buddhist programming)