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NEWS 2021

Songs of Repression

Ziółkowski, Grzegorz. “Documentary Filmmakers Confront Trauma: An Interview with Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner.” Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, vol. 11, no. 3, 2021, pp. 267–282. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/jsca_00052_7. ISSN 20427891, Online ISSN 20427905.

The article features an interview with Copenhagen-based filmmakers Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner, directors of Songs of Repression (2020), the latest documentary film to tackle Colonia Dignidad, a sectarian German enclave founded in Chile in 1961. The dialogue revolves around the film, but it also illuminates some general problems documentarians must face when encountering trauma, among them ethical responsibilities towards protagonists and narrative strategies to employ. The interview is preceded by an introduction that sketches background information on the notorious colony, explains how the film originated, examines the role of music ‐ a central motif of the film ‐ for Colonia’s functioning and situates the work in a wider context of documentaries that confront human rights abuses. The political, religious and moral complexities of Colonia Dignidad are salient because they point to the way the inadequacy or total absence of processes of redress and reconciliation may ultimately prompt the re-emergence or re-establishment of sinister practices.