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ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium Movie Poster Image
Docu about slain folk singer has violence, profanity.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 64 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Power of music to inspire social and political change. How determination, persistence, and patience of those seeking justice for an atrocity eventually found it. Importance of courage and conviction in the face of brutal repression. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Through his music, Victor Jara championed working people of Chile, called attention to struggles they faced. He was brutally murdered for his convictions, but his music lives on. In years and decades after his murder, Victor's wife, Joan Jara, worked tirelessly to bring to justice soldiers and officials responsible for his torture and murder. 

Violence

Archival news footage of political unrest in 1970s Chile when popularly elected Marxist president was overthrown by right-wing military. Protestors clashing with riot police. Footage of dead bodies. Discussion of torture, murder of thousands in National Stadium in Santiago, Chile, in 1973, including torture and killing of popular folk singer Victor Jara. 

Sex
Language

Infrequent strong profanity: "Motherf----r," "son of a bitch," "a--hole." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium is a 2019 documentary about the search for those responsible for the 1973 torture and murder of Chilean folk singer Victor Jara. Some violence includes archival news footage of the 1973 U.S.-supported right-wing military coup that overthrew the world's first popularly elected Marxist president, and footage of rioting in the streets of Santiago, Chile, and dead bodies. There's talk of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Pinochet regime in Chile, as well as some profanity, including "motherf----r." Cigarette smoking is seen. Overall, this is a balanced and detailed exploration of the life and times of Victor Jara, now recognized as a national hero described as a "cross between Bob Dylan and Martin Luther King Jr.," as well as the backdrop for all the unrest in Chile in the 1970s. The documentary also shows the heroism and persistence of Joan Jara, the wife of Victor Jara, who spent decades in pursuit of justice and human rights while trying to find those responsible for the killing of her husband. The power of music to inspire change -- individually and collectively -- is revealed in this documentary. 

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What's the story?

REMASTERED: MASSACRE AT THE STADIUM is the story of Victor Jara, who in the 1960s and '70s was a popular and highly respected folk singer in Chile. He was described as being a "cross between Bob Dylan and Martin Luther King Jr." He also used his music to address the poverty, injustice, and economic disparity that plagued his nation. Jara was an active supporter of Salvador Allende, who went on to become the world's first popularly elected Marxist president. Allende was seen as a threat to the wealthy of Chile, as well as to the military and the Nixon administration in the United States, who sent the CIA to work to destabilize Allende's government and cast doubt on his leadership. This culminated in a 1973 military coup led by Augusto Pinochet. Brutal repression followed, including thousands being taken prisoner and sent to National Stadium, where they were tortured and killed. Among those tortured and killed was Victor Jara. This documentary shows the decades-long search for those responsible for his death -- led by Jara's wife, Joan -- as well as the lasting impact Jara's music continues to have not only on Chile and Chilean musicians, but also on the world and artists such as Bruce Springsteen

Is it any good?

This is an excellent documentary, especially because the story of Victor Jara -- his music, legacy, and impact for future generations -- needs to be known and understood. But it's more than that. ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium conveys so much information and context in such a short amount of time, while also presenting the perspectives of those who took part, from Jara's wife, Joan, who has spent decades searching for those responsible for the death of her husband, to CIA agents operating in Chile at the time at the behest of Henry Kissinger, to the Chilean military veterans, who emerged out of poverty, were drafted, and were sent to participate in the atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by the Pinochet regime. 

It's a deeply moving documentary of a horrific time, but it's also a documentary that shows the power of music to bring positive change in the world. Every year in Santiago, musicians take part in the Festival of 1,000 Guitars for Victor Jara and play his song "The Right to Live in Peace." The stadium where Jara was tortured and killed has been renamed Victor Jara Stadium. These hopeful and beautiful moments serve to underscore that this story is so much more than a story of Cold War moral ambiguity and brutal military oppression. It is, ultimately, a testament to the truth in the Martin Luther King Jr. quote "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about music documentaries. How does ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium compare to other music documentaries you've seen? 

  • What are some of the ways in which the documentary attempted to show all sides of the story? 

  • How did the movie use contemporary interviews, concert footage of Jara and of artists he influenced, and archival footage of Victor Jara performing to tell the story? 

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