Stones Have Laws

  • Van Brummelen & De Haan
  • Netherlands, Suriname
  • 2018
  • 100 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary, IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
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Majestic shots of the forest and the alternately serene and turbulent river set the scene, while members of the Surinamese Maroon community, who are descended from enslaved Africans who were able to free themselves, shed light on their world. They show us how they live, how they consult their ancestors and forest spirits, and how this is all integrated with the use of modern tools.

In reenacted situations—set deep in the forest, along the river or around a campfire—village elders and younger men and women talk about the history of their people and the spirits of the natural world around them. A broad spectrum of subjects unfolds, including the dramatic escape by one of the ancestors, the struggle against the Dutch colonists, and the binding laws of trees and boulders. Desolate landscapes draft a grim picture of the far-reaching effects of the arrival of mineral-hungry multinationals.

But to start off, members of the Maroon community discuss their feelings about the film. Should they put their trust in the good intentions of the filmmakers?


  • 100 min
  • Spoken languages: Other languages, Dutch
  • Subtitles in: English, Dutch
Van Brummelen & De Haan
Tolin Erwin Alexander
Van Brummelen & De Haan, Kerstin Winking / Vriza, Marc Thelosen / seriousFilm, Darek Szendel for Ideal Film
Executive producer
Anne-Marie Hermelijn for Aco Multi Services Suriname
Van Brummelen & De Haan
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IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

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IDFA history