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Camilo: The Long Road to Disobedience (Camilo: Der lange Weg zum Ungehorsam)

Camilo: The Long Road to Disobedience
Scene from "Camilo: The Long Road to Disobedience" (photo © steelecht GmbH)

Camilo Mejia grew up in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, as son of the famous songwriter and Sandinista politician Carlos Mejia Godoy. To secure a better future for himself, Camilo and his mother emigrated to the USA when he was 18, where he was encouraged to join the US Army.

In 2003, the last year of his obligatory military service, Camilo’s unit was deployed to Iraq, based in the especially violent Ramadi region in the Sunni triangle.

Camilo’s description of his return to the USA: "Once I returned home, I had the opportunity to put my thoughts in order. Far from the sounds of machine guns and mortars, it becomes hard not to listen to what our heart is telling us. I came face to face with my feeling about the war and with memory of each and every one of my actions. And I tried to justify my behavior, my being in Iraq in the first place. I realized I was holding myself accountable for my own behavior. When the sounds of battle are gone, the sounds of one’s own conscience takes over."

Award-winning director Peter Lilienthal sketches a poetic and authentic portrait of a young man who has bravely spoken out against the politics of a country in which he is not even a citizen (but for which he has served as a solider).

And the wider implications of US recruitment of Latin American youths is explored.


Peter Lilienthal was born in 1929 in Berlin. His family emigrated to Uruguay in 1939. In 1956, he received a scholarship to the Hochschule der Kuenste (HDK) in Berlin and returned to Germany. Between 1959 and 1964 he worked at the television broadcaster SWR, first as an assistant and later as a director. In 1967/68 he was a lecturer at the German Film & Television Academy (dffb) in Berlin, and was one of the co-founders of the German distributor Filmverlag der Autoren. Since 1985, he has been director of the section Film & Media Art at the Academy of the Arts in Berlin. A selection of his films includes: In Handumdrehen verdient (1959), Malatesta (1970), Dear Mr. Wonderful, The Silence of the Poet (Das Schweigen des Dichters, 1987), The Cyclist of San Cristóbal (Der Rahfahrer von San Christobal, 1988), In the Face of the Woods (1995), and The Long Road to Disobedience (Der lange Weg zum Ungehorsam, 2007), among others.
Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2007
Director Peter Lilienthal
Screenplay Peter Lilienthal
Cinematography Carlos Apariclo
Julian Isfort
Seraphin
Producer David P. Steel
Production Company Steelecht/Offenbach am Main, in co-production with Filmwerkstatt Muenster/Muenster, Triangle 7/Brussels
Length 86 min
Format color
Original Version
 English/Spanish
Subtitled Versions English, French, German
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals International Latino Film Festival San Francisco 2007, Montreal 2008
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Hessische Filmfoerderung, RTBF Belgium

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More than anything, 10-year-old Sascha likes to go on bike rides with the neighbor girl Elli and collect sounds. He also has a passion for fixing up his bike in his improvised workshop. What he doesn’t like is the new special school he has been sent to