Review: Netflix releases episode on Victor Jara´s death

SANTIAGO – Netflix released its a new documentary and chose Chile for its inspiration. Massacre at the Stadium speaks of the Chilean musician and activist Victor Jara. He is the only Latin American chosen by Netflix for their documentary series ReMastered.

The new documentary about Victor Jara, Massacre at the Stadium, has come out on Netflix. It tells the world the story of his death. The film is part of a new group of documentaries Netflix is creating named ReMastered. Each episode tells an unresolved story of the musical world, and already has episodes on Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, and Jam Master Jay.

Massacre at the Stadium recounts the assassination of Jara by government army officials at Estadio Nacional in Santiago. Forty-five years after the incident, no one has been punished for it. Interviews with his widow, Joan Jara, his colleagues, U.S. lawyers, and prime suspect, ex-army official Pedro Barrientos, mesh together to make a story that barely seems real. The documentary captivates from the first seconds you hear Jara singing as the episode opens.

“Massacre in the Stadium”: Netflix documentary on Víctor Jara in the making

The opening clip is an old film of Jara playing one of his songs, Te recuerdo Amanda (I remember you Amanda). The documentary then goes on briefly to tell the story of his life and first steps through music, and culminates with the military coup and his arrest.

The first half of the documentary then focuses on Jara’s background, while the second half explores the crimes surrounding his death by 90 bullets and four days of torture.

The documentary includes interviews with the family’s lawyers and even others who were detained with Jara at Estadio Nacional, weaving together stories of his last days alive and the days after.

At one point, Barrientos, who now lives in Daytona Beach, Florida, speaks about the crime and steadfastly denies his participation in it. He is seen taking a lie detector test as he narrates his experience. (To this day, Barrientos still walks free, although Jara’s family did find “some measure of justice” in 2016 when a Florida federal jury concluded that he was liable for the torture and killing and awarded the family US$ 28 million in damages.)

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Interspersed are old and recent interviews with Jara’s deepest love, his widow. She brings to the film a profound emotional impact, especially surrounding her fight to uncover the truth behind one of Chile’s most vivid crimes.

All the characters, real-life interviews, and music cut to the bone of Chile’s cruel military history. The background melody is created by a Chilean pianist, Camilo Salinas, who is part of the historic Inti Illimani folk music group. The interviews are raw and real, and leave no doubt about the tumultuous times of the coup and tortures. It generates a whirlwind of Chilean society’s history and Jara’s life, painting an image of what it was like not just for him, but for everyone around him. This episode of ReMastered represents a powerful, yet inconclusive, documentary about one of Chile’s most impactful events.

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