Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Silence of Others: Speaks Up in Amnesiac Spain

By José Alberto Hermosillo
The Silence of Others poster ©2018 Cinephil
 
“The Silence of Others” is an Award Winning documentary that appraises the truth of the enforced disappearances under the Franco regime with bravery.

This insightful non-fiction work revives the memory of a country forced to forget those unhealed wounds of the repression and the people who never give up pursuing the bull’s eye.

This documentary produced by Pedro and Agustin Almodóvar brings to light  the disappearance of hundreds of individuals ordered by the Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco and his cronies four decades later.

After Franco’s passing in 1975, the new administration offered the killers, abusers, and torturers an amnesty. That atrocity was called the “Pact of Forgetting.” The agreement certainly did not do justice to the thousands of victims, who, after their disenchantment, had to go out of their country to prosecute the criminals globally.

The “Pact of Forgiveness” is forbidden by the UN. Crimes against humanity cannot be condoned by the statute of limitations of a partisan judiciary power nor fall into mass amnesia in Spain or any democratic country.

“The Silence of Others” executed a meticulous investigation to identify the victims of those crimes committed by the armed forces – involuntary disappearances, mass graves, and kidnapping of newborn babies.

Paradoxically, as happens with any other government in the world, there are still people who lived comfortably during Franco’s era and feel nostalgia for the right-wing achievements.
 
Robert Bahar, co-director. The Silence of Others. 

Photo José A. Hermosillo ©2018 Festival in LA
 
The documentarians Robert Bahar and his wife, Almudena Carracedo, spent seven years working on this project. They used hundreds of hours interviewing people, going to locations, traveling to different countries, and editing the project for fourteen months.
 
The Silence of Others ©2018 Cinephil.
 
In this film, time is the protagonist – war criminals who died without serving time. Beloved characters also died without seeing justice. For instance, the brokenhearted old lady who places flowers on the side of the highway yearning for a missing one, pointing under where the mass graves are located. Many others still remember their parents, brothers and sisters, and stolen babies.

Spain has countless victims claiming acknowledgment, lawlessness, and proper compensation. 

Other conscious survivors became activists and fought in the courts. They pressured judges internationally and kept the cases open. They also found an ally in the Argentinean judge Maria Romilda Servini de Cubria, who traveled to Spain to bring Franco’s generals to a fair trial.

In the international arena, other troubled places followed Spain’s path to justice outside of their borders: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Uganda.

Since it takes too long to have things done in the courts, one can feel hopeless. It seems like moving one step forward, two steps backward. Until one day, people can see the light at the end of a tunnel.
 
The Silence of Others ©2018 Cinephil
 
“The Silence of Others” is a splendid documentary produced by a group of very talented people. Their impressive work includes the aesthetics of its stunning cinematography by its co-director Almudena Carracedo. 

The needle-point editing was the responsibility of Ricardo Acosta, Kim Roberts, and Mrs. Carracedo. The haunting music was composed by Leonardo Heiblum and Jacobo Lieberman.

Pedro Almodóvar presents this Oscar-worthy documentary, as part of the official selection of the Los Angeles Film Festival. 
 
IDA (International Documentary Association) screening. 
Photo Jose A. Hermosillo ©2018 Festival in LA
 
The Audience Award winner documentary at the Berlinale Panorama 2018 also won the Pare Audience Award at the International Documentary Association (IDA). “The Silence of Others” has been shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the Academy Awards 2019 and is scheduled for theatrical release in the USA in Spring 2019.
 
Robert Bahar, director: The Silence of Others. Film critic José A. Hermosillo 
©2018 Festival in LA
 
“The Silence of the Others” is a cornerstone document that demands justice and democracy. It deserves to be witnessed by everyone, including the younger generation who wants to see a positive change in the world.
 
 
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