La Toma (The Siege)

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La Toma (The Siege)
Angus Gibson, Miguel Salazar, 2011
Colombia/South Africa | Spanish with English subtitles | 88 minutes

Q&A with filmmakers

When the wife of Carlos Rodriguez said goodbye to her husband as he left for work  at the Palace of Justice on November 6, 1985 – she never imagined the next time she would see him would be on a video tape decades later, being escorted by Colombian soldiers at gunpoint out of the building. La Toma deftly captures the inconceivable story of the siege of Bogota’s Palace of Justice, home to Colombia’s Supreme Court. When 35 heavily armed members of the emboldened M-19 guerilla movement storm the Palace of Justice in November 1985, hundreds are taken hostage, including nearly all of Colombia’s Supreme Court judges. For 27 hours, the country is transfixed as the military moves in to regain control and a fiery battle ensues. When the smoke clears, close to a hundred people are dead and twelve others are unaccounted for, their bodies vanished without a trace. The family of Carlos Rodriguez, like many others, believes their loved ones have been “disappeared”—removed from the building by government forces, accused of aiding the guerillas, tortured, and then killed. Twenty-five years later, the families of the disappeared demand answers, no matter how devastating the truth may be. Colonel Plazas Vega, a leader of the operation is indicted for their disappearance. In the course of his highly charged trial, the lawyers, prosecutors and the judge all face death threats and fear for their lives. The case becomes a touchstone for the integrity of justice in Colombia and beyond.

Presented in partnership with Cinema Tropical

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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