Las Manos en la Tierra looks at Uruguay’s disappeared

By 08 August, 2010

Las Manos en la Tierra (meaning “Hands in the Earth”) is a documentary by Virginia Martínez, looking at the search for those that disappeared in Uruguay’s military dictatorship of 1973-85. This period has received far less coverage than the search for the disappeared in Argentina or of the various horrible actions of Chile’s previous regimes, but for such a small country still carries a great importance.

The film follows a group of archaelogists searching for the remains of those that disappeared. With instruction from the President the military are instructed to tell the search crew where to look and guide them a football and are led to a farm near Montevideo. For four months the crew search but find nothing. Were they given wrong information? Has the military tried to cover-up their previous actions? Are the crew incompetent? Many possible thoughts pass through everyone’s heads but eventually they do find a body, that of Ubagesner Chaves Sosa, the first to be found. However, never do they encounter the number of bodies they were hoping to exhume, to finally give closure to the families of those that disappeared, This leads to a number of other investigations, looking into ways in which the bodies could have been destroyed and the search begins for possible cremation sites and evidence of cover-ups. The film is described as an ‘archaelogical thriller’ and there is certainly enough mystery and plot-twists to substantiate this claim.

There is no current release date for the film but will update all as more is made clear. In the meantime, here is the trailer:

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