Devil’s Rope

Le corde du diable

Devil’s Rope

Sophie Bruneau


Devil’s Rope tells the story of a universal and apparently ordinary object: barbed wire. It goes back to the first settlers of North America, and looks at their pioneering spirit and at how they took control of the country.
Following the development of this small agricultural aid, the film also reveals bit by bit the limitations of America’s myth of freedom. The story of wire is also the story of America’s obsession with protecting itself. In large-scale tableau scenes, director Sophie Bruneau roams the country’s wide expanses and shows us how huge areas of land were privatised. She introduces a series of eccentric characters, collectors and manufacturers of the material, who proudly present their meticulously archived collections, and tell us about innovations that were developed for the army and prisons. Against the backdrop of Mexico’s endless, dusty frontier, we learn about the countless refugees who die of thirst in this desert before making it to the border towns. Belongings left behind on this death march and discovered only years later are archived by the American authorities, but they are not conclusive enough to be able to identify individual people. Bruneau then leaves the wide expanses to show a shaky satellite picture of refugees, barely identifiable as little dots, making their way into »God’s own Country«.

Film programme Broken Landscapes

Director / Script

Sophie Bruneau


Rémon Fromont, Fiona Braillon


Philippe Boucq


Félix Blume



Sophie Bruneau

Belgian-born Sophie Bruneau is an anthropologist and film-maker. She founded her production company alteregofilms together with Marc Antoin Roudil. Their first joint short film Fishing Horseback was shown at international festivals. Subsequent full-length films have also achieved international acclaim. Bruneau lives and works in Brussels.

Films by Sophie Bruneau
Animal on est mal 2014 | L’amérique fantôme 2014 | Madame Jean 2011 | Terre d’usage 2009 | My Body Is My Degree 2005 |
Ils ne mouraient pas tous mais tous étaient frappés 2005 | Arbes 2001 | Pardevant notaire 1999 | Pêcheurs à cheval 1993