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In the horrific Chilean cult of child rape of a Nazi pedophile

THere’s something rotten in the country of Chile: Villa Baviera, a German agricultural colony that was founded by fugitive Nazi pedophile Paul Schäfer in the early 1960s as Colonia Dignidad (“Colony of Dignity). In this remote rural enclave, Schäfer fostered unity and obedience by subjecting children to random and brutal beatings distributed by himself and his acolytes (chief among them, his “hierarchies”), by personally assaulting and raping children, collaborating murderously with General Augusto Pinochet during his 1970s reign of terror, and then conditioning everyone to embrace a culture of suffering, spying on neighbors and others. silent obedience. It was, by most accounts, a place whose cheerful and tranquil exterior hid depravity.

Colonia Dignidad was the inspiration for this year’s outstanding stop-motion animation feature The house of the wolf, and it is also the subject of Songs of repression, The documentary by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner (premiering online at DOC NYC, November 11-19) about those who grew up in this cult and now must fight against its lasting legacy. Executive produced by Joshua Oppenheimer – whose Masters The act of killing and The gaze of silence are similar thematic works on the atrocities of group thought, genocidal tyranny and the confrontation with monstrous stories – it is a non-fiction investigation into the traumatic scars of the past and the ways in which victims cope with horrors so overwhelming that they can hardly be thought of, much less discussed. This is why it is all the more heartbreaking to see men and women doing just that – except for those who continue to believe that Colonia Dignidad’s crimes against hers and against humanity are best ignored.

Songs of repressionThe title refers to Colonia Dignidad’s use of choirs and orchestras to unify its inhabitants. Like the beatific landscapes that Hougen-Moraga and Wagner use as backgrounds in the title card interludes that provide historical context to their tale, these songs exude a sense of harmony, happiness and contentment that is directly at odds with the darker reality of the place. Rather than pitching things up front, the filmmakers instead defined their base scene and then introduce viewers to a handful of the 120 or so people who still inhabit Colonia Dignidad. For those like Dora, an older and friendly woman seen working in a greenhouse, her education in this bubble-shaped commune – cut off from the outside world in many ways – was marked by days of song in the fields and nights. lying in hay wagons. looking at the stars. “It was something beautiful,” she said wistfully.

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