The battle of blackwater

The Battle of the Black Water relates the victorious struggle against a senseless dam project fought by the inhabitants of a small Belgian town in 1978. It is a choral narrative expressing the intensity of an exemplary popular movement and a fragment of the History of civil society told by those who made it.

Benjamin Hennot, Belgium, 2015, HDV, Format diffusion : 1.77 (HDV 16:9), 73 minutes

They disturbed and destroyed, sabotaged and vandalized, conducted sit-ins, “visits”, wild camps and flower parades. They converted banknotes into propaganda weapons. They launched Belgium’s first free radio, leaving the police force helpless to hunt down its fleeting programmes. In this turbulent year of 1978, the “Hardliners from Couvin” were farmers, workers, plumbers, school teachers, professors, insurance agents, naturalists, rascals or law students. Together, beyond religious, political and ideological beliefs, beyond social and cultural categories, they united and achieved a dazzling victory against a pointless dam project that would have engulfed the splendid Black Water valley and threatened their living environment. The Battle of the Black Water was a 9-month inventive, humorous and furiously determined struggle. “It was hard”, they tell us unanimously, only to add it was also the most intense period of their life.

Directed by: Benjamin Hennot
Screenplay: Benjamin HENNOT
Photography: Michel Baudour
Sound: Henri Morelle & Loïc Villiot
Image editing: Damien Keyeux & Laurence Vaes
Languages: EN
Subtitles: EN
Available formats: DCP, Digital, DVD, Blu-Ray
Coproduction: RTBF (Unité de programmes documentaires) Voo Be TV WIP Wallonie Image Production Atelier Graphoui
Festival promotion: WIP :
Sales (interlational distribution): Thierry Detaille : 



Screen the film


Alternatives and Commitment, Environment & Ecology, Documentary genres, History, Sustainable development, Countries and continents, Europe, Water, Ecology, Belgique, Science and Social science, Society, Landscape, Geology, Character driven films, Group portrait, Justice, 2015, Solidarity