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La Isla - Archives of a Tragedy
Archive
La Isla - Archives of a Tragedy
IDFA 2009

La Isla - Archives of a Tragedy

La isla Guatemala: Archive einer Tragödie
Uli Stelzner
Germany, Guatemala
2009
85 min
World Premiere
Festival history
Two years ago, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, an explosion in a building brought to light the archives of the secret police. This meant that an investigation could commence into the hidden history of this Latin American country, from the military coup of 1954 to the end of the civil war in 1996. What happened, for example, to the approximately 45,000 people who went missing? In this subdued film, young Guatemalans in white gloves and face masks work their way through the archives. The U.S.-supported dictatorship had set up an extensive program of elimination against the opposition, complete with death squads. Surviving relatives of untraceable "revolutionaries" and "communists" study documents that reveal the fate of their loved ones. It turns out that thousands were dumped anonymously at a cemetery. The archive also contains horrific photographs of mutilated bodies, and reports record the voltages used during torture. During interrogations, the police cut wounds into the soles of suspects who were then forced to walk over salt. A short film shows young "subversive elements" disappearing into pits. The relatives appear more sad than embittered, as they are relieved to finally have answers. Calmly, they talk about the facts that have come to light.
Credits
World Sales
    Ohne Gepäck Filmproduktion Zoran Solomun & Lorenz Haarmann GbR
    Ohne Gepäck Filmproduktion Zoran Solomun & Lorenz Haarmann GbR
Screening copy
    Ohne Gepäck Filmproduktion Zoran Solomun & Lorenz Haarmann GbR
    Ohne Gepäck Filmproduktion Zoran Solomun & Lorenz Haarmann GbR