Songs of Repression (2020) [Feature]

Denmark,Netherlands (MIFF 2020 )

Survivors of an abusive Chile-based German colony find their voice in this sensitive film executive-produced by Joshua Oppenheimer, which won the main competition and the critics’ award at CPH:DOX 2020.

Villa Baviera looks like a peaceful Chilean village, nestled in the Andean foothills. But from 1961 to 1991, this was Colonia Dignidad, an ethnic German community whose leader, Paul Schäfer, presided over a religious regime of paranoia, brutal discipline and gendered abuse. Today, 120 survivors still live here – both victims and perpetrators. While some seek solace in the folk songs of their youth, others guide tourists around the colony, using their commentary as vehicles for voicing their suffering.

Like Oppenheimer’s own The Act of Killing (MIFF 2013) and The Look of Silence (MIFF 2015), Songs of Repression offers a reckoning with a legacy of socially sanctioned atrocities – not just on community members, but also, through the colony heads’ complicity with dictator Augusto Pinochet, on broader Chilean society. Directors Estephan Wagner and Marianne Hougen-Moraga quietly observe the bucolic rhythms of everyday life here with a compassionate gaze, alert to small human moments that reveal the toll of trauma.

“Unfolds with great sensitivity and nuance … Songs of Repression is one of the most compelling documentaries of the year.” – Film Inquiry

Warning: Includes discussion of the sexual abuse of children.Survivors of an abusive Chile-based German colony find their voice in this sensitive film executive-produced by Joshua Oppenheimer, which won the main competition and the critics’ award at CPH:DOX 2020.

Villa Baviera looks like a peaceful Chilean village, nestled in the Andean foothills. But from 1961 to 1991, this was Colonia Dignidad, an ethnic German community whose leader, Paul Schäfer, presided over a religious regime of paranoia, brutal discipline and gendered abuse. Today, 120 survivors still live here – both victims and perpetrators. While some seek solace in the folk songs of their youth, others guide tourists around the colony, using their commentary as vehicles for voicing their suffering.

Like Oppenheimer’s own The Act of Killing (MIFF 2013) and The Look of Silence (MIFF 2015), Songs of Repression offers a reckoning with a legacy of socially sanctioned atrocities – not just on community members, but also, through the colony heads’ complicity with dictator Augusto Pinochet, on broader Chilean society. Directors Estephan Wagner and Marianne Hougen-Moraga quietly observe the bucolic rhythms of everyday life here with a compassionate gaze, alert to small human moments that reveal the toll of trauma.

“Unfolds with great sensitivity and nuance … Songs of Repression is one of the most compelling documentaries of the year.” – Film Inquiry

Warning: Includes discussion of the sexual abuse of children.Survivors of an abusive Chile-based German colony find their voice in this sensitive film executive-produced by Joshua Oppenheimer, which won the main competition and the critics’ award at CPH:DOX 2020.

Villa Baviera looks like a peaceful Chilean village, nestled in the Andean foothills. But from 1961 to 1991, this was Colonia Dignidad, an ethnic German community whose leader, Paul Schäfer, presided over a religious regime of paranoia, brutal discipline and gendered abuse. Today, 120 survivors still live here – both victims and perpetrators. While some seek solace in the folk songs of their youth, others guide tourists around the colony, using their commentary as vehicles for voicing their suffering.

Like Oppenheimer’s own The Act of Killing (MIFF 2013) and The Look of Silence (MIFF 2015), Songs of Repression offers a reckoning with a legacy of socially sanctioned atrocities – not just on community members, but also, through the colony heads’ complicity with dictator Augusto Pinochet, on broader Chilean society. Directors Estephan Wagner and Marianne Hougen-Moraga quietly observe the bucolic rhythms of everyday life here with a compassionate gaze, alert to small human moments that reveal the toll of trauma.

“Unfolds with great sensitivity and nuance … Songs of Repression is one of the most compelling documentaries of the year.” – Film Inquiry

Warning: Includes discussion of the sexual abuse of children.

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