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The Siege (La Toma)
Running Time: 88 minutes
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Venue: Playhouse Theater, 40 Main Street, Tiburon
Showtime: Thursday, April 18, 2013 @ 04:00 PM
Director: Angus Gibson & Miguel Salazar
Description: Bogotá, November 6, 1985. Thirty five heavily armed members of the cavalier M-19 guerilla movement storm the Palace of Justice, home to Colombia’s Supreme Court, and symbol of its judicial system. Hundreds of people are taken hostage, including almost all of Colombia’s Supreme Court judges. The guerillas have a clear demand – they want the President put on trial. The government refuses to negotiate, and the military open fire on the building.
For 27 hours, the country is transfixed, as Bogotá’s central plaza is transformed into a brutal and bloody battleground. When the dust settles, the majestic Palace is a smoldering shell, and close to a hundred people are dead, including 34 of the 35 M-19 guerillas, along with eleven Supreme Court judges and many employees of the courts. Twelve others are unaccounted for—their bodies cannot be found in the debris. Many believe they have been “disappeared”—removed from the building by government forces, accused of aiding the M-19, tortured, and then killed.
25 years later, Colonel Plazas Vega, one of the leaders of the military operation, has been charged with the disappearances. The Colonel protests his innocence, expressing outrage that so many years after the event, he has been isolated as a scapegoat. In the course of a highly charged trial, the lawyers, prosecutors and the judge all fear for their lives, traveling with armed guards, donning bulletproof clothing, and deflecting death threats. The case has captured the attention of the Colombian public and media. Both practically and symbolically it has become a touchstone for the integrity of justice in Colombia.
The Siege follows the action-packed story of the day of the Siege of the Palace of Justice, and tracks the courtroom drama Colonel Plazas Vega’s trial 25 years later – to create a complex, politically-challenging, and ultimately highly-entertaining film.
Screening with: Saigon ’68
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