Saturday, November 12, 2016

Colonia (2015)

Colonia (a.k.a. The Colony) starts out like a Chilean The Dreamers - starring the ever-effervescent Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl as globetrotting political activists and young lovers named Lena and, er, Daniel - complete with a rock and roll soundtrack (making excellent use of both Janis Joplin and Santana). But when things turn bad, and the local fascists start clamping down on revolutionaries, the movie veers into Midnight Express territory, based (in this case) on the true story of Colonia Dignidad. Lena joins an ultra-conservative religious cult which harbors facilities for the torture of political criminals in the hopes of rescuing Daniel. But once you go in, it's not easy to get out. Michael Nyqvist creates a chilling portrayal of the cultleader Paul Schäfer (not to be confused with the bandleader of the CBS orchestra), a spiritual guru intoxicated by his own ego, poignantly demonstrating the irony of a "holy man" who is nevertheless a textbook demonstration of cruelty and corruption. (Begging the question - at least in my mind - of how long we have to continue pointing out the ties between misogyny and despotism before people begin to realize that fighting and shaming our basic sexual natures (but especially that of women) is not the path to divinity). Anyway, it's a tense and suspenseful movie; I recommend it - and not just because it stars Emma Watson, either. ;-p

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