Cern – The Sense of Beauty

a documentary by Valerio Jalongo
Switzerland/Italy 2017, 75′, o.v. Italian, English, sbt. English

Festivals & Prizes

Visions du réel Nyon 2017 – compétition Helvétiques official selection


What can there be in common between the wonderful figures of animals painted by hand on the walls of a cave in southern France and the subatomic particle research carried on in the great underground loop at CERN?
The images left by our ancestors are fragments of a language that seemed lost forever ­– the language of animism that enabled primitive man to be a part of the energy that animates all things. Today, however, in a deep underground cavern in Switzerland, ATLAS – at a weight equivalent to 100 Boeing 747s by far the biggest “camera” ever made by man – is producing images which capture the same mysterious energy.
The 35,000 years that separate those images tell the story of the spiritual essence of man and his rapport with nature. A rapport that has been lived in fear, in shared experience, in destructive force, such that now it is abundantly clear that man may not be able to halt the global warming which threatens his only habitat – the Earth. god particles is an enquiry into that rapport, combining the language of art with the language of science.
Uncovering the secrets of the great underground laboratories at CERN, we show how beauty and harmony are guiding principles for scientists as well as artists. Seeing the images and hearing the sounds that subatomic particles produce, we come closer to laws of physics where the same dialectic between symmetry and asymmetry holds true that we find in every work of art, that we can trace back to the very origins of our universe.
Following the discovery of the Higgs boson, CERN has confirmed its reputation as a place where human knowledge confronts the mystery of our existence at the highest possible level: we will be putting to CERN’s scientists and physicists the great questions faced in the past by philosophers and mystics – about the universe, our origins, our destiny. Of these men and women of science, some have faith in God, some believe only in the laws of physics and in mathematical formulae. But almost all recognize that, in order to understand the elusive nature of matter and the cosmos, they must cultivate their sixth sense: the sense of beauty.

"Un'opera grandiosa, ambiziosa e documentatissima che riprende l'LHC come il Discovery One di 2001: Odissea nello spazio di Stanley Kubrick”

Raffaella Giancristofaro, MyMovies


"Bellezza, arte, scienza, pace, democrazia molti aspetti di una stessa missione impossibile... Chi l’avrebbe mai detto prima di aver visto questo film!"

Leopoldo Bennacchio, Il Sole24 Ore


"Il segreto del suo successo forse è … quello che nel film è chiamato «il settimo senso», la capacità di percepire la bellezza.”

Silvia Guidi, L’Osservatore Romano


Coming Soon

"Il regista Valerio Jalongo ci porta con emozione in un viaggio nella cultura che le parole di Fabiola Gianotti rendono ancora più affascinante"

7 Corriere della sera


"Questo documentario vi incanterà"



"Una fotografia straordinaria contribuisce ad esaltare gli aspetti unici del laboratorio europeo"

La Stampa

"Il film racconta la magia dell’universo”

Carla Amarillis, Elle


Valerio Jalongo
Alessandro Pesci and Leandro Monti
Massimo Fiocchi
Original music:
Maria Bonzanigo, Carlo Crivelli Performed by Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, conductor: Kevin Griffiths
Amka Films Productions, with RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera and La Frontera Video & Film

Ameuropa with Rai Cinema

With the support of:
Federal Office for Culture, Canton Ticino Republic, Fondo FilmPlus of Italian Switzerland, Succès Passage Antenne, SRG SSR, Ernst Göhner Foundation, Ministry of Cultural Resources, Activities and Tourism, General Department for the Cinema, Rai Cinema, Lazio County regional fund for cinema and audiovisual