The inhabitants of a German colony in the Chilean Andes wrestle with the trauma of the community's dark past, in this poised and fascinating portrait.
There’s a charming, picture-postcard quality to the cabins and greenhouses of Villa Baviera, a little German colony nestled in the idyllic landscape of the Chilean Andes. But the tranquil beauty masks a very dark past.
In 1961, German preacher Paul Schäfer established Colonia Dignidad here; a closed sect in which sexual abuse and communal beatings were a matter of course. Schäfer controlled the group for more than forty years, until his arrest in 2007. Today, 120 former inhabitants still live in the colony. Victims, perpetrators and those who are both coexist – without any real reckoning with past horrors – and disagree on how their history should be remembered.
With extraordinary poise and intimacy, filmmakers Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner delve into the world of Villa Baviera, in a portrait of a community haunted by trauma.