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An essayistic short film about the daily presence of colonialism in our bodies, education, and the ways histories are written.
The point of departure is an engraving of a French orphanage in late 19th century China.
On the back of the seemingly benign image, published in a French illustrated magazine, the filmmaker discovers a racist propaganda text in praise of the “progress” brought by French missions to China.
Through a variety of interviews with activists and researchers set in Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, the film explores the tension within the image and the colonial enterprise it is supposed to justify.
As the interviewees interpret the image, they uncover aspects of current relevance, such as neocolonial structures in today’s educational programs or conceptions of Western museums.
Finally, the film describes how histories are written in our bodies.
The filmmaker incorporates her own personal comments along with the interviews.
In this weaving, she finds a connection between the neocolonial discourse of “progress” and the violence that is at the center of modernity.
She concludes by questioning her own Western-oriented education in Peru and abroad, as well as the colonial languages she was socialized with during her childhood.