Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Blix Not Bombs’

Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Blix Not Bombs’

Watching former UN diplomat Hans Blix open his birthday presents is reminiscent of watching your grandpa.  Smiling, warm and affable, the now 94-year-old is somewhat unassuming.  Yet underneath, the man who was charged with inspecting sites in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction in the early 2000’s is still confident, charismatic and ever careful of his words.

To filmmaker Greta Stocklassa growing up in the 90’s, the world seemed a safe place.  Two days after her 8th birthday airplanes crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York City and the world changed.  Since then she finds the world has become increasingly hostile.  “Is this the reality of growing up or are things really getting worse?” she asks.  “When did we stop listening to one another?”

Stocklassa has many great questions in Blix not Bombs, her directorial debut, especially whether the resulting war in Iraq was a catalyst for today’s divided society.  “How far does the butterfly effect stretch?” she queries while showing events like Brexit and Donald Trump’s election.  To find answers, she looks toward fellow Swede Hans Blix, whose reports on Iraq’s armament were integral to the eventual invasion, even though the inspectors he led found nothing.

Stockassa uses archival footage, much of which will be familiar to those around in the 2000’s. She mixes this with current day interviews with Blix to pose more questions than she answers. She uses the final portion to continually ask Blix a question. Could he have done more to prevent the Iraq War in the first place?  He eventually loses his patience.  That said, Blix’s story is fascinating and chemistry on camera undeniable.  As he nears the end of his life, he contemplates the greatest risks to humanity, modern day conflict, and if diplomacy still has worth in finding peace.

  • Release Date: 4/28/2023
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Hillary is a Toronto based writer, though her heart often lives in her former home of London, England. She has loved movies for as long as she can remember, though it was seeing Jurassic Park as a kid that really made it a passion. She has been writing about film since 2010 logging plenty of reviews and interviews since then, especially around festival season. She has previously covered the London Film Festival, TIFF (where she can often be found frantically running between venues) and most recently Sundance (from her couch). She is a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics. When she’s not watching films or writing about them, she can be found at her day job as a veterinarian. Critic and vet is an odd combination, but it sure is a great conversation starter at an interview or festival!
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