Night of the Pencils (1986)




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The brutal kidnapping, torture, and killing of six out of seven high school students in 1976 is the subject of this powerful docudrama, a highly-charged, emotionally gripping condemnation of Argentina's military rulers at that time. One of the students survived the ordeal, and this story is based on his experiences and knowledge of what happened. These students, five boys and two girls, first led a successful campaign for a reduction in student bus fares under the rule of Isabel Peron. When the military took over the government, they laid down oppressive restrictions on student activities. These same seven students campaigned against the restrictions via grafitti and leaflets. As a consequence, policemen in the guise of civilians raided each of their homes on the same evening, brought them to hidden detention sites and proceeded to tie them up, humiliate them verbally and psychologically, blindfold them, and torture them. Their objective was to extract false confessions from them, saying they were involved with the guerrilla movement. All but one died under interrogation, none of their relatives were able to find out where they were kept, and the government blatantly denied all knowledge of the seven. If it were not for the one survivor, the truth may never have come out.


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