The Gate

Filmstill The Gate

The Gate

The Gate
Jasmin Herold, Michael David Beamish
German Competition Documentary Film 2023
Documentary Film
88 minutes

The top-secret military testing facility Dugway lies in the barren desert of Utah. This is where the U.S. Army are rehearsing the wars of tomorrow. They specialise in nuclear weapons, chemical and biological agents, including anthrax and special nerve toxins. Even the Hiroshima pilots practiced on this site. Meeting at this war site far from all combat zones are: a heavily traumatised soldier, a military chaplain, a survivor of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima and a father looking for his missing son. They are all proud of their American Way of Life and at the same time marked by the horrors of war. Because even in Utah, far from all actual fighting, it has indelibly inscribed itself – into the people’s souls and the collective memory of the U.S., for many decades the nation with the highest military budget.

This visually powerful film approaches its protagonists without prejudice, trying to learn how they navigate a social system that sees the use of violence as a right of freedom. What does it mean when guns and their attendant rituals are used to strengthen family cohesion, when shooting practice becomes a bonding exercise between fathers and sons? And when – unimpressed by the daily arms buildup – fear hovers over everything and seeps deeper into life every day?

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jasmin Herold, Michael David Beamish
Jasmin Herold, Michael David Beamish
Claire Pijman
Claire Pijman
Heino Deckert
Jasmin Herold, Michael David Beamish
Michael David Beamish
Sound Design
Michael Kaczmarek, Adrian Lo
Markus Aust
World Sales
Liselot Verbrugge
German Distributor
Michael Höfner
Nominated for: VER.DI Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, DEFA Sponsoring Prize