Screened as part of NZIFF 2019

Cold Case Hammarskjöld 2019

Directed by Mads Brügger Framing Reality

What starts out as an investigation into the plane crash that killed UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961 soon spirals into something even darker under the direction of Danish provocateur Mads Brügger.

Belgium / Denmark / Norway / Sweden In English and French with English subtitles
128 minutes DCP



Peter Engel
Bjarte Mørner Tveit
Andreas Rocksén


Tore Vollan


Nicolás Nørgaard Staffolani




Mads Brügger
Göran Björkdahl


Hot Docs 2019


Directing Award (World Cinema Documentary)
Sundance Film Festival 2019


On September 18, 1961, UN Secretary-General Dag Dag Hammarskjöld died in a mysterious plane crash in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) while en route to negotiate a ceasefire during the Congo Crisis. Last seen attempting to smuggle blood diamonds in The Ambassador (NZIFF12), Danish provocateur Mads Brügger reopens the case after 50 years of conjecture and speculation about what really happened.

Was Hammarskjöld assassinated because of his outspoken advocacy for African self-determinism? With the assistance of Swedish investigator Göran Björkdahl, Brügger sets out to investigate in his inimitable style. Criss-crossing the continent on a search for the meagre scraps of truth, Brügger instead uncovers a murky conspiracy more chilling than anyone could have imagined.

“Brugger’s latest documentary… may be his most difficult film to categorize, and his most accessible… A conspiracy-fueled murder mystery with some hilarious meta-commentary on the genre, Cold Case Hammarskjöld is either a stunning piece of investigative reporting that builds to a revelatory climax or a wily trickster’s dark critique of the audience's desperate need for answers.” — Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

Cold Case Hammarskjöld unearths such a tissue of lies and prevarications that arguably it is only by offering this heady cocktail of fact, fictionalising and conjecture that some perspective on truth can be achieved… However sceptical you feel about Brügger’s approach, and his findings, this is an arresting, troubling work – and, for all the horror, an intensely entertaining one too.” — Jonathan Romney, Screendaily