The Silence of Others

How would it feel if you or a relative was coldly and callously murdered and buried at the side of the road in an unmarked grave. Imagine if you will that your grave is then tarmacked over to make way for a duel carriageway. This is just one situation faced by many of the families of people who were killed by both sides in the horrific events which took place between 1936 and 1939 when General Franco launched a coup in Spain against the democratically elected socialist government. Upon victory what followed was one of the most brutally oppressive regimes in modern day western Europe. Throughout the civil war and his fourty year rule Franco’s troops were responsible for some of the most brutal acts of torture and murder. Upon his death in 1976, in order to set up a democratically elected government once again both sides decided on a pact of forgetting. The Silence of Others explores the flaws of this pact as the viewer follows families whose relatives were killed by Nationalist forces during the civil war fight through the courts in Argentina (because it is illegal to do so in Spain) in order to find out what has happened to their relatives. Of course where the film, and perhaps any other film about a war, falls down is in the fact that it does not acknowledge the victims on both sides. Of course the natural and reasonable justification for focusing on the victims of Nationalist forces during the civil war is that they were on the winning side and the fact that the Franco regime, during a dictatorship which spanned nearly half a century, tortured and killed many who simply didn’t agree with their politics. The natural reaction to this of course would be to say that, at the outbreak of the civil war, the republican government was the one in power and their forces were responsible for their fair share of atrocities, including clergicide.

On the whole however the way that the directorial team of Robert Bahar, Almudena Carracedo together with writers Ricardo Acosta, and Kim Roberts treat the material at their disposal is done with compassion and tact, painting a picture of a group of families seeking justice for their loved ones. It can only be hoped that all of those involved in this terrible conflict can create a legacy that Spain can finally learn to move on with.

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