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Roses in December
A film by Ana Carrigan & Bernard Stone

56 minutes, documentary, color, English, 1982

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Roses in December is part of The Human Rights Watch Collection.

The Peace Corps left today and my heart sank low. The danger is extreme. Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children - the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them?” -Lay Missioner Jean Donovan

On December 2, 1980, lay missioner Jean Donovan and three American nuns were brutally murdered by members of El Salvador’s security force. This “sensitive, marvelously constructed film” (Catholic New York) chronicles Jean’s life, from her affluent childhood in Connecticut, to her decision to volunteer with the Maryknolls in El Salvador, to her tragic death.

An award-winning classic for the ages, Roses in December is both an eloquent memorial to the commitment of this courageous young woman and a powerful indictment of U.S. foreign policy in Central America.


"ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR! A taut, exemplary piece of humane film making that avoids political sentimentality and glib answers." - Time Magazine

"Brings the war in Central America home to middle class America like no other film."
- American Friends Service Committee

"The power of this documentary is that it may reshock us into remembering the United States’ complicity in El Salvador: Our government arms a government that kills Americans." - Washington Post

"Don’t miss it. And have your teenagers see it too."- Catholic New York

"A moving testament to three sisters and a lay volunteer who were killed as a result of their work with the poor in El Salvador, the film’s simplicity is an artful reflection of the simple lifestyle of its subjects and the simple beauty of their sacrifice"- America Magazine

Named one of the Ten Best Films About Holy Men and Women by America Magazine

Recommended Reading

Salvador Witness: The Life And Calling of Jean Donovan by Ana Carrigan


Click here to learn about Human Rights Watch work in El Salvador and the United States.

Disc Features

●  Essay from Human Rights Watch
●  About Human Rights Watch
●  Human Rights Watch Trailer Gallery

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