Neutrino – the poet among the elementary particles

Neutrino is a poetically philosophical documentary showing the interconnectedness of an elementary particle, ‘countless gods’, picking chestnuts, pixels on a computer screen and the art of tofu making. In encounters with colourful scientists and villagers, the film shows how the elusive elementary particle called “neutrino” manages to bridge the gap between scientific research and village life, between the invisible quantum world and tangible reality, and between the will to know and the magic of not-knowing.


Fascinated by an eccentric elementary particle, the filmmakers embark on a research journey to the Super-Kamiokande Neutrino Detector, a prestigious physics experiment at a depth of more than a thousand metres deep in a mountain in Japan. In the village on that mountain, international scientists live and work alongside the local people and their spiritual leaders. Thus, two worlds come together that at first glance have nothing to do with each other. The living world of the elderly residents of a former mining village, and the research world of international physicists conducting scientific research inside that same mountain. While one group focuses on the visible nature they live with – the mountains, trees, animals, water, and wind – the other looks only at the “invisible nature” of the neutrino; because of the question of whether the so-called ghost particle can explain the origin of the universe. Set in a few hundred square metres in, on and around Mount Ikeno-yama, the film meanders between different perspectives on the elusive neutrino and the questions it raises about nature, the cosmos and invisible and magical things of life. We get to know the scientific gaze of international neutrino researchers with their eye-opening research facilities. We learn about the spiritual gaze of a Buddhist monk and a Shinto priest with their ancient temple and shrine. And we meet the colourful indigenous villagers and a local schoolgirl, who, above all, deal soberly with “the unknown”, and give it a place of its own, in the tangle of daily life in and around their “House of Dreams”.
What starts as a personal journey of discovery for physics knowledge transforms into a universal, existential quest.

Première: December 2023

Crew & credits

Director Hannie van den Bergh | Jan van den Berg
Camera  Claire Pijman | Sander Snoep
Sound Jeffrey Jousan
Camera drone Hirotaka Yamazaki | Claire Pijman
Music Jacq Palinckx
Editor Katarina Türler

Producer seriousFilm   Koert Davidse | Marc Thelosen
Commissioning editor KRO-NCRV Laetitia Schoofs
Production Manager KRO-NCRV Albert Aartsen  
Line producer Japan Makoto Sugano (Telecom Staff Inc.)
Broadcasting Company KRO-NCRV(Buddhist programming)

This film is made possible by NPO-fonds, Nikhef, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and Stichting Physica