LAS MANOS EN LA TIERRA / HANDS IN THE EARTH
Tuesday, Oct. 18th, 2011, 8pm
US PREMIERE ¤ Presentation and discussion with director Virginia Martínez* after the film.
DIRECTOR Virginia Martínez · PRODUCTION Aceituna Films
PHOTOGRAPHY Christian Quijano · EDITING Federico la Rosa · SOUND Álvaro Mechuso & Álvaro Rivero · MUSIC Herman Klang
2010 / Documentary / 52 min. / Spanish with English subtitles
Film website / Trailer
For the first time in the history of Uruguay, a group of archaeologists from the University of the Republic go to work in an army barracks. Their mission is to find the remains of people who were detained or “disappeared” during the military dictatorship.
The Commanders in Chief of the three armed forces give the President a report with information from their own internal investigation. The families of the disappeared have their own list. The whole country follows these events closely, and there is full television coverage. The digging begins. But no bodies are found, which seems to contradict the dictum that when a crime is committed the difficult thing is not the actual crime but to leave no clues.
At last, after a hundred days of digging, the soil yields up a secret and the first remains are unearthed. A few days later someone writes on a wall in Montevideo: “Ubagesner Chávez Sosa, the first ex-detained-disappeared.”
This documentary is an archaeological thriller that reconstructs the whole saga of the digging, which was a milestone in the country’s history. The film is a very open chronicle that uses a variety of voices, all of them essential, to tell a complex story.
*Virginia Martínez is a filmmaker, producer, historian and teacher. She is the Director of the documentaries Por esos ojos / For These Eyes (1998, with Dir. Gonzalo Arijón), Ácratas / Anarchists (2000), Memorias de mujeres / Women’s Memories (2005) and Las manos en la tierra / Hands in the Earth (2010). She is the Production Director of the following documentaries: El círculo / The Circle (2008, Dirs. José Pedro Charlo & Aldo Garay), La sociedad de la nieve / Stranded (2007, Dir. Gonzalo Arijón), El plan Cóndor (2004), Palabras verdaderas (2004, Dir. Ricardo Casas) and Los huérfanos del Cóndor (2004, Dir. Emilio Pascull). She was the director of Tevé Ciudad from 1996 to 2000, and since May 2010 she has been the director of Televisión Nacional de Uruguay (TNU). Her publications include Los fusilados de abril (2002), Tiempos de dictadura (2005) and Siglo de mujeres (2010). Martínez frequently contributes to El País Cultural, the cultural supplement of the newspaper El País in Uruguay. Martínez lives and works in Montevideo, Uruguay.