Songs of Repression

Songs of Repression

The Amnesty International Poland Award

At the foot of the Andes Mountains in Chile lies a German colony. In 1961, preacher Paul Schäfer moved here and established a sect, which led to horror.

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At the foot of the Andes Mountains in Chile lies an idyllic German colony. Tourists come and enjoy the nature, the pool and traditional German cuisine. However, the beauty of the place contains a grim past. In 1961, German preacher Paul Schäfer and his congregation moved here with the stated aim of helping the poor. They established Colonia Dignidad (Colony of Dignity), which transformed into a sect. This film explores how the residents of the colony deal with 45 years of child abuse, collective beatings, slave-like living conditions and mass graves. Apart from the inhabitants’ miserable lives, the colony assisted Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990) in torturing and killing political prisoners and burying them in mass graves on their 16.000-hectare land. In 2007 Schäfer was arrested and the colony opened up. Today the colony has changed its name to Villa Baviera (Bavarian Village). Around 120 people are still living there. This film is about them and what they’re doing now. We meet those who completely deny the horrors and wish to remember only the bright moments, those who still today go through severe emotional struggles – and those caught in between. The film asks whether both truth and reconciliation are possible in a society where personal and collective denial is part of everyday life.



  • projection time:
    89 min.
  • country/year:
    Denmark / 2020
  • director:
    Estephan Wagner, Marianne Hougen-Moraga
  • pictures:
    Estephan Wagner, Marianne Hougen-Moraga
  • production:
    Joshua Oppenheimer, Bruno Betatti, Signe Byrge Sörensen / Final Cut For Real
  • awards :
    2020 – IDFA Amsterdam, 2020 – CPH:DOX Copenhagen: DOX Award, 2020 – Reykjavik IFF, 2020 – Athens IFF, 2020 – Haifa IFF, 2020 – Nordisk Panorama, 2020 – Docs Barcelona

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