Desembarcos – When Memory Speaks

Documentary | 1989


Argentina | Germany | 1989

Digital | 16 mm | 74 min

Language · Spanish
Subtitle · English | German

Co-production · Jeanine Meerapfel in cooperation with Instituto Nacional de Cine y Arte (INCAA) and Goethe-Institut

Filming locations · Buenos Aires | Argentina


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Between 1976 and 1982 thousand citizens were kidnapped, tortured and killed in Argentina. How do Argentinians cope with this tragedy? How do they elaborate their recent past?
In 1986, Jeanine Meerapfel directed a film workshop in Buenos Aires, organized by the local Goethe-Institute. Three groups of students were to shoot their own scripts. The given theme was fear and the students’ scripts reflected the fright that remained in Argentina after the military dictatorship: fear or repression, torture, exile… but mainly the fear that all that had happened could be forgotten.
During the workshop, questions and doubts came up. Why remember? Is it necessary to revive the past over and over again? What can cinema do against crimes and violations of human rights? Questions about the utility of aesthetics and fiction confronted with the reality in the streets of Buenos Aires.

Cast & Crew

Script · Jeanine Meerapfel
Director · Jeanine Meerapfel (Mitarbeit Alcides Chiesa)
Photography · Victor González
Sound · Alcides Chiesa
Editing · Heni Bouwmeester
Music · José Luis Castiñeira de Dios
Production · Jeanine Meerapfel | Instituto Nacional de Cine y Arte (INCAA) | Goethe-Institut

Awards | Festivals


“El caimán barbudo” · La Habana | Cuba
Award of the city of Strasbourg · Strasbourg | France


Human rights festival · Strasbourg | France
Forum oft the young film ·
Berlin | Germany
DOK Leipzig ·
Leipzig | Germany
Hong Kong Int. Filmfestival ·
Hong Kong
Istanbul Int. Film Festival ·
Istanbul | Turkey

Latinamerican Film Festival · Havana | Cuba

IFFI · Innsbruck | Austria


Distribution in Germany · Deutsche Kinemathek ·

World sales · Malena Filmproduktion ·

Distribution DVD · (DVD Edition – a selection of Jeanine Meerapfel’s films)

Press reviews

“Jeanine Meerapfel’s productive contribution, which is well worth seeing, captivates argumentatively above all through the openness of its discourse, with which it relentlessly tackles questions of social identity that move people in their thoughts and actions…”

Die Wahrheit, Berlin (Rainer Braun, 11.12.89)

“The film avoids the hasty, the all too simple and unambiguous position. The attitude always remains clear, but it is not to be imposed, but to be experienced…”

Die Zeit, Hamburg (Norbert Grob, 16.06.89)