Filmmaker Andres Lubbert always wondered why his father Jorge was always emotionally detached and deeply troubled. A cameraman working in conflict zones, Jorge would often leave his family behind for extended periods of time.

Jorge is a Chilean refugee who fled Pinochet's military dictatorship in 1978. After reading a Stasi file in Berlin on Jorge, Andres persuaded his father to return to his native country, to the places where he was kidnapped and tortured by Pinochet's secret police.

His father witnessed horrific acts when he was forced to work for the dictatorship under threat of his family being killed. He managed to escape to Germany but Chilean agents found him, so he fled to Belgium.

Through confronting his father's past, Andres reveals how an ordinary citizen can be dehumanised and turned into a collaborator. Ultimately Andres questions whether his father was a perpetrator or a victim, or both.

Read more about Andres and Jorge's journey into Chile's dark past here.

During his training, Jorge Lubbert, now 61, learned how to wiretap phones [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

FILMMAKER'S VIEW

By Andres Lubbert

There was somehow a kind of a romantic image of my father: the typical revolutionary story of an exile. But the real story is raw and dark.

Andres Lubbert

Why is my father who he is? From childhood on, I had the feeling my father was different from those of my classmates. As an adolescent, I realised my father was suffering from insomnia, addiction and was even suicidal several times.

I couldn't understand his autodestructive behaviour, nor his ambiguous relationship with his family and his country of birth. He seemed a wreck to me. It must have been the darkest period of his coming to grips with his past. These events and experiences motivated me to delve into what exactly happened to him in Chile.

There was somehow a kind of a romantic image of my father: the typical revolutionary story of an exile. But the real story is raw and dark.

Today, I understand my father had built a "plausible" story, something people would understand and accept. A story that also could protect him from distrust or condemnation. It was just impossible to tell people his true story. It felt too intimate, too difficult to understand for outsiders. He never had the words even to tell it - you would need to have faced it to be able to understand.

But I am his son and I faced hard times due to his silence. I needed a dialogue with my father. I wanted to identify my position in our father-son relationship.

Source: Al Jazeera