It is arguable that beginning a film review with the phrase “this film was fucking awesome” is rather unconventional, however those are the exact words I would to describe the film Colonia. This film, starring Emma Watson as Lena and Daniel Brühl as Daniel, portrays the story of Lena’s determination to locate her husband after he has been taken as a political prisoner to Colonia Dignidad, a 70 square mile sect in Parral, Chile. Daniel is a political protestor, and his controversial photographs of the political uproar in Chile prompts his abduction. The film is depicted in the year of 1961, and the prison was created by a former Nazi nurse turned preacher after he escaped from Germany due to a warrant for his arrest addressing his molestation of young boys named Schäfer. The sect contained up to 300 individuals at one point, and despite the atrocities that occurred within the location, it was deemed as attractive by many German immigrants due to its offering of free academics, health care and occupations.
I had never heard of Colonia Dignidad prior to viewing this film, however I was appalled to learn of the torture and abuse that occurred within its walls. Lena willingly goes to Colonia disguised as a nun in hopes of discovering her husband (she is totally unaware of the torture he has endured) and is faced with relentless abuse by Schäfer and his associates.
Daniel, who is subjected to intense electric shock torture, feigns a mental disability as a result of his torture in order to appear as incompetent. By doing so, he is able to locate Lena in her sleeping quarters and ultimately plot an escape for the two of them. Once outside of Colonia’s walls, the two flee to an airport and plan to expose to horrors of the camp to the public.
This film is incredibly educational, historical, and furthermore important. It is essential for films such as Colonia to be developed in order to generate awareness of historical atrocities and to potentially prevent any such events from occurring again.