The Settlers Film, A Dark Portrait of Chile’s Indigenous Oppression

The Settlers Movie

Know Your Idol – A film from Chile entitled The Settlers or Los Colonos was submitted as their official submission for the 2024 Oscar Best International Feature Film nomination. Even though they failed to get a nomination, The Settlers and The Zone of Interest have the same issue and agenda, namely raising awareness among humans so as not to repeat the tragedy of genocide .

The Settlers

Set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the story of the film The Settlers opens with a view of a wide, windy expanse of land. The camera focuses then on a group of people working on a land with a wire fence owned by a cruel Spanish businessman, Jose Menendez. To carry out their exploitation of nature, European colonialists used brutal methods to get rid of the native population. Felipe Gálvez Haberle illustrates this very clearly in his work.

Menendez orders the mercenaries, MacLennan, Bill, and Segundo, to hunt down the natives so as not to interfere with his business. On the way, they met other mercenaries commanded by other European businessmen. During this hunt, scenes of suffocating violence are shown in this film. MacLennan and Bill seemed to enjoy the cruelty, while Segundo actually hated the cruel treatment of his two friends.

Several years later, the Chilean government began to enforce new rules so that European immigrants and the native population could interact with each other. That’s when Segundo was asked to testify. In his testimony, details of the atrocities committed by the mercenaries were revealed.

However, unlike war films which focus on action, time urgency and violence, The Settlers is packaged in a poetic style. The pace of the story is slow and the protagonists seem to have a lot of time to reflect and be silent. When compared, The Settlers has similarities to The Zone of Interest. Horror does not always rely on graphic elements, but can be built through stunning audio details and sharp dialogue.

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