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They Killed Sister Dorothy

A movie directed by Daniel Junge

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They Killed Sister Dorothy - 2008

  • Oct 13, 2011
Rating:
+5
Pros: incredible footage

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:


"Leave me if you need to
I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground"
~W Nelson



The story of Sister Dorothy Mae Stang was reinacted in the documentary by director Daniel Junge in the drama They Killed Sister Dorothy.   It was nominated for, and won, 7 awards and carries no rating on IMDB.    When needed the film was narrated by Martin Sheen but most of the film was through live interviews, court records and film, and archived videos.

The story:
Sister Dorothy Stang was a missionary working with the poor in Brazil.  She had been in that country since the late 60's and on February 12, 2005, she was confronted on her way to a meeting and her assailants emptied their revolver into her body as she lay on the ground.   Her crime was trying to save the rain forest from the land moguls in the area.   Her murderers were quickly caught, arrested, and sent to trial.  Then the problems began.

Sister Stang had organized a group of farmers and their families to run sustainable camps that would harvest fruits of the forest without destroying the environment.   Land moguls, that wanted to continue raping the rain forest of the hardwoods and using grounds to raise cattle, put a contract out on her life in order to protect their interests.   

Director Junge stepped into the story lightly by introducing David Stang, Dorothy's brother, on his quest to visit his sisters grave and honor her memory.   He devoted a good portion of the film to the actual trial of the men involved in the murder investigation and the results of the trial.    The balance of the film was dedicated to Dorothy, her work, and the importance of valuing the conservation efforts her group was doing.  

DVD extras:
~outstanding commentary by the director and producers
~in depth interview with David Stang and Sister Becky Spires
~film premier at South by Southwest Film Festival with a Q&A with David and Junge
~biography & statement from Junge
~photo gallery

Overall impression:
this is an outstanding piece of work with incredible courtroom footage that we seldom have the advantage to see.   It is well done even though some of the archived film was a bit grainy.   It was a sad documentary highlighting a banal court system.    Sister Dorothy may not have been a saint, she may not even have been all that some thought she was, but she had a good plan that could have made a change in the world.   Instead she gave her life for something she believed in and believed in her slogan - "A Morte da floresta é o fim da nossa vida".

thanks,
Susi

Recommended:
Yes

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About the reviewer
Susi Dawson ()
Ranked #81
Live your life with the goal to 'pay it forward' and do one good thing for someone else
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About this movie

Wiki

Martin Sheen narrates this documentary that delves into the mystery of a 73-year-old nun's murder in the Amazon. THEY KILLED SISTER DOROTHY shows that the killing of this saintly woman was not a random act of violence; instead, the act was perpetrated by people who have the interests of their bank accounts, rather than those of the people and the rainforests, first in their minds.
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Details

Director: Daniel Junge
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: First Run Features (October 20, 2009)
Runtime: 1hr 33min
First to Review
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