Literally rendered, “casus belli” means “cause of war”. The cause can be vital or futile and the blaze it ignites can be a world war or a neighbourhood squabble. But some stages are the same, whatever the scale of the conflict: misunderstanding – misinterpretation of signs, acts or words; defamation – open or veiled insults; and escalation. A blaze is easier to ignite than to extinguish.
This film examines the difficult work of bringing human beings in discord back to relative peace. It explores two places and two professions: the neighbourhood mediator, who listens, refrains from offering advice, and tries to get the conflicting parties themselves to find the solution, and the Justice of the Peace, who makes a ruling in some cases, and tries to broker an agreement in others – though it may be a long and difficult process. On the stage before them the theatre of humanity plays itself out, with its trickery, bragging, charm offensives, and sincerity.