Directed by Johan Grimonprez (“dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y”) and in part based on Corruption Watch UK founder Andrew Feinstein’s globally acclaimed book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, the film reveals how the international trade in weapons – with the complicity of governments and intelligence agencies, investigative and prosecutorial bodies, weapons manufacturers, dealers and agents – fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracy and creates widespread suffering.
The film unravels a number of the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. It illustrates why this trade accounts for almost 40% of all corruption in global trade, and how it operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often illegal actions. SHADOW WORLD posits alternatives through the experience of a peace activist and war correspondent, as well as through the voice of Eduardo Galeano who contributed selections from his stories for the film.
Ultimately SHADOW WORLD reveals the real costs of war, the way the arms trade drives it, how weapons of war are turned against citizens of liberal democracies and how the trade decreases rather than enhances security for us all. In shedding light on how our realities are being constructed, the film offers a way for audiences to see through this horror, in the hopes of creating a better future.