La Paloma

The Song Of Longing. Worldwide.

150 years of La Paloma this year: No other song has ever been played, adapted or printed as often asw La Paloma. A voyage from Cuba to Zanzibar via Mexico, Auschwitz and Afghanistan, from a little love song to a protest song against globalization. The adventurous life of a song, a film on longing for love and peace.
From Dean Martin to Elvis Presley, from Carla Bley to Eugenia León – we find the song throughout the world, performed as Tango, Waltz, Reggae, Country, in almost every form. This makes it so special: the song has been adapted to the folk music of many different countries. The film will tell the adventurous journey of La Paloma, how it was adored, tortured, misused, loved, and how it became a symbol for longing. It is the journey of a little innocent love song, composed by the Basque Sebastian Iradier for his Mexican girl friend. It became mature by consoling the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian and his unfortunate wife Carlota in Mexico. It was the last song children heard before going into the gas in Auschwitz. In 1961 it was a number one hit in Germany. Nowadays, after 150 years of life, it is misused as a kitsch song in beer tents. But the Mexican singer star Eugenia Leon brings new life to our song. She takes it as a protest song against the war in Iraq and President Bush.

The project is supported by MFG Film Foundation Baden-Württemberg, Media - a programme of the E.U., the Region Alsace and the City of Strasbourg. It was developed at EAVE - European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs.
World sales: First Hand Films, Zurich

The film has been shown at the following festivals:

Hamburg Documentary Film Week (2008)
German Film Festival, Ludwigshafen (2008)
International Film Festival, Mannheim-Heidelberg (2008)
Filmfest Eberswalde (2008)
Silverdocs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival (2008)
International Film Festival of Fine Arts, Szolnok, Ungarn (2008)
Leeds International Film Festival (2008)
Göteborg International Film Festival (2009)
Tacoma International Film Festival, Washington (2008)
1001 Documentary Film Festival, Istanbul (2008)
Festival de Cine Documental de Jaén (2008)
La semaine du documentaire, Uzès (France) (2008)
Göteborg International Film Festival (2009)
Goethe Institute San Francisco Berlin and Beyond Film Festival (2009)
Tiburon International Film Festival (USA) (2009)
Afrika Filmfestival Holsbeek (Belgium) 2009
23. Pärnu International Documentary Film Festival (Estonia) 2009
Zanzibar International Film Festival 2009
DOC FEST- International Documentary Film Review on Art, Architecture, Cinema, Theatre, Music and Dance, Rome 2009
European Union Film Festival Bangkok and Chiangmai (Thailand) 2009
Listopad Film Festival (Belorussia) 2009
URTI Monte Carlo 2010
New England Festival of Ibero-American Cinema (USA) 2010
Kragujevac Festival of Anti-War and Engaged Films 2010
International Film Festival „World of Knowledge“ St. Petersburg (Russia) 2010
nominated for Silverdocs Music Award 2008
nominated for Prix Italia 2008
nominated for Prix Europe 2008
nominated for 2008 IDA International Documentary Award
Golden Palm Award Winner Mexico Film Festival California 2009 (Best Features and Best Music Videos)
Award as best art film at the 23. Pärnu International Film Festival

Filming locations: Romania, Zanzibar, Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Germany

The Soundtrack CD has been released by Trikont, Munich

Produced by

White Pepper Film and Seppia, Strasbourg

A film by

Sigrid Faltin



Running time

52 min.


  • Director of Photography: Holger Schüppel
  • Assistant cinematographer and Sound: Michael Paninski
  • Sound: Enrico Leube, Andreas Radzuweit
  • Editor: Mike Schlömer
  • Production manager: Agnès Divoux
  • Producers: Sigrid Faltin, Pascaline Geoffroy, Cédric Bonin


Nominated for Silverdocs Music Award 2008

Nominated for Prix Italia 2008

Nominated for Prix Europe 2008

Nominated for 2008 IDA International Documentary Award

Golden Palm Award Winner Mexico Film Festival California 2009 (Best Features and Best Music Videos)

Award as best art film at the 23. Pärnu International Film Festival

Book link

Order DVD for 10 € + 6 € shipping abroad

„We produce documentary films - it's real life that interests us.“
Sigrid Faltin, white pepper films


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