Lost since 1987, the stunning documentary Sepa, Nuestro Señor de los milagros (Sepa: Our Lord of Miracles) observes an open-air penal colony, created in 1951 by the Peruvian government in the Amazonian jungle. The film is the sole directorial effort of Walter Saxer, best-known as the producer of Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Nosferatu (1979).
Dekanalog will finally release Sepa, Nuestro Señor de los milagros (Sepa: Our Lord of Miracles) in U.S. cinemas on October 14th.
After languishing in a closet for more than three decades, this newly-rediscovered film is a unique documentary record of a bold and troubling experiment in criminal justice. Sepa: Our Lord of Miracles observes the open-air penal colony of the same name, created in 1951 by the Peruvian government in the Amazonian jungle. Tasked with growing crops on these colonized lands, the inmates were permitted to roam freely, commune with their families, and dance and cook together, yet they soon found themselves in despair, abandoned and forgotten by their country and the world at large.
Completed in 1986 and screened only once – on Swiss television in the late 1980s – the film then faded from cinema history, its only print existing in a residential closet in Italy. After a chance encounter with Dekanalog’s George Schmalz and Lysa Le, who visited Saxer’s Peruvian bed and breakfast in 2017, a conversation was started about unearthing and restoring the film negative, allowing the picture the release it always deserved.
Watch the official trailer for Sepa, Nuestro Señor de los milagros (Sepa: Our Lord of Miracles)