Monday, September 19, 2016


I watched the movie Colonia (2015), which is about Chile's Colonia Dignidad in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup. On the one hand, I was glad to see the issue getting some mainstream treatment. On the other, as a movie it was underwhelming.

The plot revolves around a German in Chile who gets involved in the Unidad Popular, and the young Lufthansa flight attendant he meets (she is Emma Watson, and I have to admit it's hard not to see Hermione). He is captured and taken to Colonia Dignidad to be tortured, and she comes and joins the colony voluntary to rescue him. I won't spoil anything.

The Paul Schafer (now deceased real-life leader of Colonia Dignidad) actor did a great job making him incredibly creepy, which he was. But throughout the movie, I found myself suspending disbelief too many times. An activist hears about the coup on the morning of 9/11, then goes out and takes pictures of soldiers? The torturers of Colonia Dignidad accept that the activist is mentally disabled because of the torture so give him freedom of movement while restricting everyone else? And the last scene seemed so much like the last scene of the movie Argo that it bugged me. But the atmosphere in the movie was good--it was an oppressive and scary time.

If you've never heard of Colonia Dignidad, rent the movie. It's better to start with this fictionalized account than not to know anything. Use this article--which quotes my friend and colleague Peter Siavelis at Wake Forest--from the Telegraph as an intro.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP