Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  85 minutes
Date:  2017
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
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The Destruction of Memory

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Explores the loss of priceless artwork, artifacts and historical sites through war and terrorism.

The Destruction of Memory

The bombing of Sarajevo's National Library and the burning of its ancient books. The looting of the Iraqi National Museum and destruction of its priceless historical objects. The beheading of Kahled al-Asaad, long-time lead archaeologist for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city of Palmyra, Syria, for refusing to give up hidden artifacts. In the 'cradle of civilization' and beyond, the last century has seen the rise of 'cultural destruction': the intentional annihilation of irreplaceable artwork, artifacts, historical sites and their stewards in desperate attempts to erase collective history and identity.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tim Slate and narrated by Tony Award-winning actress Sophie Okonedo, this powerful documentary explores the loss of invaluable artwork, objects and historical sites through war and terrorism. It uses meticulous research and compelling expert interviews to examine how and why cultural destruction has happened, and how the work to protect, salvage and rebuild can respond.

THE DESTRUCTION OF MEMORY introduces heroes who have risked their lives to protect not just other human beings, but their cultural identity, safeguarding the record of who we are.

But all is not lost: as these stories are reported, perpetrators are brought to justice and awareness grows, the film proposes hope. Increasingly, the power of modern technology is being harnessed to document, protect, and to play a role in the rebuilding process.

Distinguished international experts interviewed in THE DESTRUCTION OF MEMORY include Irina Bokova , Director-General of UNESCO; Fatou Bensouda , prosecutor for the International Criminal Court; Gunter Blobel , Nobel Laureate; Bonnie Burnham , President Emerita of the World Monuments Fund; Daniel Libeskind , architect; Dirk Moses , genocide historian; Andras Riedlmayer Corine Wegener , Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer of The Smithsonian Institution, Robert Bevan , architect and author of the book 'The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War' upon which the film is based, and many more.

'Beautiful and important; needs to be widely seen.' - Karima Bennoune, United Nations

'Highly Recommended! Looks at cultural destruction throughout the 20th-century; beautiful and powerful.' - Laurie Frey, The Heritagist

'This film should become not just an 'eye opener' but a vehicle for change all around the world.' - Tsipi Ben-Haim, CityArts NYC

'A poignant film; necessary viewing.' - Jan-Carlos Kucharek, RIBA Journal

'A measured indictment of the failure of international bodies to [offer] legal protection to important buildings in war zones .' - Gillian Darley, The London Review of Books


** Grand Prize, Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival
** Audience Award, Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival
** Best Public Educational Value, The Archaelogy Channel International Film Festival
** Best Film Honorable Mention, The Archaelogy Channel International Film Festival
** The British Museum, London, UK
** Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, MA
** Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
** Global heritage Fund, San Francisco, CA
** Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
** Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, MO
**Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, FR
** Anthology Film Archives, New York, NY
** Gaines Center for the Humanities, Lexington, KY
** Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
** Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ
** Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Symposium, New York University, NY
** Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK


Main credits

Slade, Tim (screenwriter)
Slade, Tim (film director)
Slade, Tim (film producer)
Okonedo, Sophie (narrator)

Other credits

Director of photography, Derek Wiesehahn; editor, Lindi Harrison, ASE; music, Ezio Bosso.

Distributor credits

A film by Tim Slade
Narrated by Sophie Okonedo
Based on the book \'The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War\' by Robert Bevan

Docuseek2 subjects

African History
Ancient History
Middle Eastern History
Middle East and North Africa
Politics and Political Science
Museum Studies

Distributor subjects

Criminal Justice
Middle East
Political Science


law; crime; cultural destruction; museums; bombing; artifacts; rare; terrorism; "The Destruction of Memory"; Icarus Films; Syria; war crime; cultural genocide; Timbuktu; Sarajevo; Iraq; Kahled al-Asaad; Palmyra; Raphael Lemkin; International Criminal Court; Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi; Timbuktu; Sophie Okonedo; Irina Bokova; Fatou Bensouda; Gunter Blobel; Bonnie Burnham; Daniel Libeskind; Robert Bevan;

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