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Our Disappeared/Nuestros Desaparecidos

Distributed by Geovision, 75 North Beacon St., Watertown, MA 02472; 617-926-5454
Produced by Juan Mandelbaum
Directed by Juan Mandelbaum
DVD, color, 99 min.
College - Adult
Human Rights, Latin American Studies, Sociology, South American Studies

Reviewed by Veronica Maher, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island

Date Entered: 5/29/2009

In many cultures one of the worst things that can happen to someone is to be forgotten after death. One survivor quoted St. Augustine “The dead are invisible beings, they are not absent.” This film is about remembering the many thousands of young people in Argentina who disappeared between 1976 and 1982. It is hard to imagine anything like this happening on such a scale in our country. Juan Mandelbaum went back to Argentina looking to see what happened to a former classmate and friend of his, Patricia Dixon. What he finds and reveals to us are stories about the horrors of “the dirty war” when military regimes were responsible for the torture and death of thousands. Mandelbaum himself was an activist in his college years but left the country before the real troubles began. He tracks down his lost friends and their families and gets them to tell the story of the son, daughter, brother or sister that disappeared because of their political involvement. Each story is different except for the commonality of being young and trying to bring change to the country they loved. It mattered not that they were peaceful and non-aggressive. If they expressed leftist ideas or aided in the movement they were targeted for disappearance.

In 1987 the Argentinean government passed a law granting amnesty to over three hundred military officers involved in the persecution on the basis that they were presumed to be acting under orders. In 2005 the Argentina Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional and nullified. Since March 2006, the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the dirty war, the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice has been commemorated.

There is English narration with Spanish dialogue subtitled. Recommended, especially for human rights studies.


  • Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Documentary at Chicago Latino Film Festival
  • Gold Remi Award at WorldFest International Independent Film Festival
  • Cine Golden Eagle Award