Colonia (film)

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Colonia poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Florian Gallenberger
Produced by Benjamin Herrmann
Written by
  • Torsten Wenzel
  • Florian Gallenberger
Music by
Cinematography Kolja Brandt
Edited by Hansjörg Weißbrich
  • Majestic Filmproduktion
  • Iris Productions
  • Rat Pack Filmproduktion
  • Rezo Productions
  • Fred Films
Distributed by
  • Majestic Filmverleih (Germany)
  • Rezo Films (France)
Release date
  • 13 September 2015 (2015-09-13) (TIFF)
  • 18 February 2016 (2016-02-18) (Germany)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • France
  • Scottish
  • Spanish
Box office $2.5 million

Colonia, also known as The Colony, is a 2015 historical romantic thriller film directed by Florian Gallenberger, produced by Benjamin Herrmann, written by Torsten Wenzel and Gallenberger, and starring Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, and Michael Nyqvist. The film is set against the backdrop of the 1973 Chilean military coup and the real "Colonia Dignidad", a notorious cult in the South of Chile, led by German lay preacher Paul Schäfer. The film is an international co-production of companies in Germany, Luxembourg, and France.

Principal photography began on 2 October 2014 in Luxembourg; filming also took place in Germany and Argentina. It was shown in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[2]


In 1973, Daniel and Lena, a young German couple, become entangled in a Chilean military coup at a time when supporters of deposed President Salvador Allende are getting rounded up by the military under General Augusto Pinochet. When Daniel is abducted by Pinochet's secret police DINA, Lena tries to find and save her boyfriend.[3] She tracks him to a sealed-off organization called "Colonia Dignidad", which presents itself as a charitable mission run by a lay preacher, Paul Schäfer. Lena joins the organization to rescue her boyfriend, only to learn it is a cult from which no one has ever escaped. She later finds Daniel, who acts disabled to be overlooked. Daniel discovers the organization is also an illegal operations center for DINA. Lena and Daniel attempt to escape from Colonia Dignidad along with Ursel, a pregnant nurse. Ursel is killed and both Lena and Daniel escape to the West German embassy. Staff from the embassy betray them but the lovers exit the country by air, with incriminating photographic evidence against Colonia Dignidad.[3]



On 29 September 2014, it was announced that Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl would star as a couple in the upcoming film which is based on a true story, directed by Florian Gallenberger who co-wrote the script with Torsten Wenzel.[3] Benjamin Herrmann would be producing the film through Majestic Filmproduktion, and Nicolas Steil would co-produce through Iris Productions. Kolja Brandt would be director of photography, and Hansjörg Weißbrich would be the film editor.[3] On 27 October, Michael Nyqvist joined the film to star as Paul Schäfer.[4]

Principal photography began on 2 October 2014 in Luxembourg,[5] where it was shot in Haut Martelange near to Rambrouch on the Luxembourg-Belgium border.[6] Filming in Luxembourg lasted through end of October, and then the production moved to Germany for further shoot in Munich and Berlin. It was also shot in Buenos Aires until early 2015.[4]

Release and reception[edit]

Colonia premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on 13 September 2015.[7][8] Shortly after, Screen Media Films acquired U.S distribution rights to the film.[9] The film also screened at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 12, 2016.[10] The film was released in Germany on 18 February 2016.[11]

The film was released to a limited run in the United States and Canada on 15 April 2016, the same day as Emma Watson's 26th birthday.

On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 28% based on 40 reviews, an average rating of 3.6/5 and an audience score of 63%[12] Colonia received 5 nominations from the German Film Awards, including Best Supporting Actor.[13]


  1. ^ "COLONIA (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Toronto to open with 'Demolition'; world premieres for 'Trumbo', 'The Program'". ScreenDaily. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Barraclough, Leo (September 29, 2014). "Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl to Star in Thriller 'Colonia'". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy (October 27, 2014). "Michael Nyqvist Joins Emma Watson In 'Colonia': First Look Photo". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Franklin, Garth (September 29, 2014). "Emma Watson Begins Filming "Colonia"". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Emma Watson Luxembourg set pictures". October 6, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Colonia". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "Toronto Film Festival Adds 60+ Titles". IndieWire. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ Roxbourough, Scott (4 November 2015). "AFM: Screen Media Takes Emma Watson Thriller 'Colonia' for U.S." Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "Colonia". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  11. ^ Jaugernauth, Kevin (9 January 2016). "Emma Watson Must Rescue Daniel Bruhl In New Trailer And Images For 'Colonia'". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "Colonia". Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Preisträger 2016: Deutscher Filmpreis". Retrieved 15 October 2016. 

External links[edit]