Guatemala - Against Forgetting

Guatemala - Against Forgetting

The civil war in Guatemala, which lasted from 1960 to 1996, resulted in the death or disappearance of more than 200,000 people. In 2012, a group of families of the victims took the state of Guatemala to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights about it - and won.

Among the reparations imposed on the Guatemalan government was a stipulation that it should finance the production of a film about the victims. "Guatemala: Against Forgetting" is no ordinary documentary film, because its genesis is closely intertwined with the violence it describes: the horrors of the Guatemalan civil war which claimed more than 200,000 lives. For the first time a group made up of families of the victims succeeded in having a state found guilty in a court of law. Even though only 26 of the 45,000 crimes could be prosecuted, the plaintiffs still won their case. Among the various forms of reparations was the production of a documentary film to be financed by the state, but the state has refused to accept the court's judgement down to this day.

In the end the families took matters into their own hands. And this is their film. They joined director Claudio Zulian and a group of politically active artists in an intense debate about how the horrors of a civil war which lasted for 36 years should be portrayed, even though few traces of it remain. The question was: should the violence be recorded on film for future generations and, if so, in what form and to what degree? "Guatemala: Against Forgetting" is an impressive and painful documentary film that probes the boundaries between dealing with the past, remembrance, and justice.


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