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In the southern Spanish village of Frigiliana, time has not healed the wounds from the Franco era. Even now the murder of a villager in 1952 divides the community.
A horrific event during the Franco era in a southern Spanish village remains a taboo subject that no one talks about. Beneath the apparent village harmony, there is an undercurrent of lethargic pain, personal drama, betrayal and hidden political conflicts. These all stem from the cruelties carried out by Franco’s Guardia Civil. Filmmakers Ramón and Salvador Gieling confront the inhabitants with these hidden secrets. Only the ones who confront the bloody past can live in peace with the future.
On All Saints’ Day, the inhabitants of the southern Spanish village of Frigiliana remember their dead. The assembled villagers all know each other, and they bring flowers and candles. But the apparent serenity belies the deep divisions in the village. The murder of Antonio Lomas by the Guardia Civil in 1952, during the dictatorship of General Franco, has caused a collective trauma. Everyone—elderly witnesses and their descendants alike—conceals their sorrow and grievances with a paper-thin layer of civility. There’s no obvious solution in sight. In that regard the village is much like many other places in Spain where similar tragedies, disappearances and unprocessed pasts reverberate into the present.
Ramon and Salvador Gieling settle into the picturesque village, where they question local people about what happened. Their stories create a vivid image of the painful events of 1952, which still stir up powerful emotions. In an effort to help the villagers come to terms with the past, the janitor of the local school and the Gielings decide to dramatize the events together with the locals. Not everybody is enthusiastic about the idea. Why open up old wounds?
“It is an episode that is still very much alive among the townspeople, there are many who hardly want to talk about it.”
“Carefully, and adhering to the principle of audi alteram partem in tact (‘listen to the other side’), the filmmakers reveal how deep the crack remains.”
Festival & Awards Winner: IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2020