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Icarus Film
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A Film by Heidi Specogna and Rainer Hoffmann
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In 1963, a group of young men raided the Swiss Gun Club in Uruguay. This armed action signaled the birth of Latin America's most famous urban guerrilla group, the Tupamaros. Their military successes and their popular Robin Hood-type actions made them well-known. They came to serve as a role model for European urban guerrillas. The early 1970s brought disintegration, and during the military dictatorship, the group survived prison and torture.

Today, the Tupamaros is one of the few Latin American resistance movements that have made the transition to a legal political force. Since spring 1995, it has been represented in the Uruguayan parliament by the 62 year old Pepe Mujica. In this film, he reflects on the Tupamaros' development over the last 30 years. A founding member of the movement, he was one of the nine hostages held for 13 years by the military government in absolute isolation in abandoned cisterns and decaying prisons.

For the first time former leaders of the MLN-Tupamaros are prepared to tell the story of their movement in front of a camera. The film is based on a visual concept that sheds light on the past by showing images of the present. Despite their destruction or hasty conversion, the buildings of Montevideo and elsewhere in the country, still bear witness to past horrors. Among the buildings is a modern shopping center, which until only recently was used as a prison, and the grandiose government palace, where former victims and henchmen now sit opposite each other in an atmosphere of unease and suspicion.

"A superb job of telling the riveting story of a social movement through the lives of a few fascinating and charismatic individuals ... Highly recommended."—Educational Media Reviews Online


93 minutes / color
Release: 1997
Copyright: 1996
Sale: $398

Subject areas:
History (World), Latin America, South America, Uruguay

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Death Squadrons: The previously untold story of how the French military trained Latin American death squads in the 60s and 70s (and even U.S. Special Forces in the early days of our Vietnam War).

For These Eyes: The story of the daughter of Uruguayan activists "disappeared" by the Argentine military in the 1970s, and raised by an agent of the Argentine secret police.

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