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Documentary "The Silence of Others" opens this month in the US

Travelers interested in modern Spain will want to see this documentary, which won a Goya award last year, and is now being released in the USA --

it features interviews and dramatic historical footage of Franco's victims and their continuing efforts to get around the amnesty laws that were passed soon after his death to prevent his enablers from being brought to justice.
It's a film full of ironies -- the plaintiffs have had to appeal to human rights courts in Argentina in order to have their cases heard, including many times more instances of stolen babies than occurred in Argentina itself.

https://thesilenceofothers.com/?fbclid=IwAR3MsOSw8O2exYIWPQ0gliLhTwuslAoSXNM9-Uws2OG94kr0iEKIWHMEIs4

This is even more moving than the memoir film "Roma" that was so popular here last year.

At a more trivial level, the film has interesting shots of contemporary Madrid and Buenos Aires to give you a sense of how local folks live today.

Posted by
885 posts

Many travelers have fascism on their minds these days, but for Americans in particular I also want to point out the book "Spain In Our Hearts" by Adam Hochschild, which is about the volunteers from here in the US who helped fight against the coup by Franco in the mid 1930s.

https://www.amazon.com/Spain-Our-Hearts-Americans-1936-1939-ebook/dp/B011H55NQC

The American volunteers were nicknamed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and they really gave the Republican cause their all in the fight against fascism -- there was a higher casualty rate in the Brigade than in any other official conflict America has waged, and the returning veterans were treated more poorly than the veterans of any other American war, because of the red-baiting that flared up during the early Cold War here in the US.

Posted by
9864 posts

It seems, but is this correct, that "The Silence of Others" focuses more on the effects of Fascism in Spain on the people, not the American Lincoln Brigade?

Posted by
885 posts

Kent, yes that is correct. The Hochschild book probably should be a separate recommendation.

The documentary film follows a handful of the plaintiffs in the crimes-against-humanity cases being handled by the human rights courts in Argentina, all of whom are Spanish. The Hochschild book is a history-comes-alive telling of the Americans who volunteered against the Franco forces. Both are well worth taking in for anyone interested in contemporary Spain.

Posted by
9864 posts

avirosemail,

Thank you for answering my question. I've noticed that you invariably follow up on questions asked about your posts!

I have gotten the impression, correct or not, that the subject of Spain's Civil War is not a subject that is a prominent discussion topic in Spain, even 44 years after Franco's death. In our recent visit to Spain, the only explicit mention we saw was a special photo exhibit at the Reina Sofia, I mean, in addition to the museum's obvious treatment of the Civil War in the fact that it houses Guernica. I was glad to once again see Guernica, the last time I'd seen it, it was still at NYC's MOMA (before the 1981 relocation).

Posted by
885 posts

Hey, Kent -- it so happens that I've seen Guernica at both of those locations as well.

The Faulkner quote about the past not being past definitely applies to the civil war in Spain.
I think that a lot of travelers are attracted to the churches there just as they are in other old places,
and the especially conflicted relationship between the church authorities and the various parties involved
in the war on all sides is a tough thing to convey in 45 seconds to a family in cargo shorts through a pamphlet or a multi-lingual recorded tour guide.

Those cathedrals that weren't wrecked were nonetheless significantly altered, and little of that is explained, at least in the English labels. If you read the longer labels in Castellano in the Granada cathedral or the major churches in Barcelona or Madrid you'll see some recognition of the toll the war took, and how various side chapels and anterooms were re-named or re-arranged from what they were called before the 20th century.

The excellent walking tour in Barcelona on this subject that many of us have reviewed here in the RS forum is given by an expat Brit, not a local. The hotel off the Ramblas that Orwell and his wife stayed in, as recounted in Homage to Catalonia, doesn't acknowledge it, but does have some old sepia photo prints in the hallways.