Awards: Best Documentary IFF (Panama), People’s Choice IFF (Panama), Best Director IFF (Miami), Best Caribbean Film FICBAQ (Barranquilla), Best Documentary (Malaga) Best Documentary (Biarritz), Best Documentary (San Jose de Costa Rica’s Festival), Best Documentary CINEMA TROPICAL (New York).
Festivals: SXSW, True-False, Miami IFF, Cartagena IFF, It’s All True, Huelva IFF.
Commercial release in Panama with more than 55,000 spectators in theaters.
Represented Panama for the Oscars Awards for the category of Foreign Movies.
With the support of: IBERMEDIA, DICINE, INCAA, Doha Film Institute.
“Everyone has their own version of the invasion.” That is film director Abner Benaim’s point of departure, because ultimately everyone has their own subjective memory of the events that took place in Panama between Christmas and New Year of 1989 – when American troops deposed dictator Manuel Noriega, killing an unknown number of civilians in the process. Invasion is Benaim’s attempt at a collective reconstruction. Instead of hashing out historical facts, he gives credence to Panama’s vox populi. Although the exact death toll remains unknown, witnesses describe streets strewn with the bodies of civilians. Benaim reenacts these memories on location, knowing full well that even if the accuracy of what he’s filming is questionable, the pain it expresses is quite true. Panamanians from all walks of life hammer out their doubts and certitudes of what happened: did the “gringos” bring democracy or destruction? Was Noriega a victim or a villain? Was he an anti-Imperialist or a CIA accomplice gone rogue? Was it about drug trafficking or arms dealing, or perhaps neither? Or does it really just boil down to the fact that the U.S. wasn’t ready to relinquish control of the Panama Canal? These questions, many of which go intentionally unanswered, constitute the first Panamanian attempt to reconcile with a national trauma that many Panamanians have been all too eager to forget.