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I Was, I Am, I Shall Be

  • Film

Time Out says

Some months after the Chilean coup of September 1973, an East German camera crew managed to obtain permission to visit one of the Pinochet regime's prison camps, a former disused saltpetre mine in the arid desert of northern Chile. But they were able to film only under close surveillance, and the chief interest of I Was, I Am, I Shall Be is the material with which this footage is intercut. Shot mainly before the coup, it places Chatabuco in a historical context, both as mine and as prison camp. The factual testimony of former mineworkers, including a witness of the 1925 massacre at Marusia, makes a striking contrast with the blandly explanatory Pinochet. One shot provides a continual refrain: a prisoner holds up the handle of a miner's spade with the words, 'It was found here and I think it speaks for itself. It can be interpreted in many ways' - a statement whose multiple ambiguities become increasingly clear as the film progresses.
Written by AS

Release Details

  • Duration:71 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Walter Heynowski, Gerhard Scheumann
  • Screenwriter:Walter Heynowski, Gerhard Scheumann
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