‘The Silence of Others’ by Almudena Carracedo opens the Time of History section

The documentary about victims of the Franco dictatorship received a standing ovation from the audience at the Cervantes Theatre 

Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo, directors of the documentary, accompanied by the team


10/21/2018.- El silencio de otros (The Silence of Others), which inaugurated the competition in the Time of History section on Saturday, received a standing ovation at the end of the screening. The 95-minute documentary by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar depicts an ongoing struggle, with many of its protagonists reliving the emotions and joyful moments of a lengthy process alongside the audience.

«We started filming seven years ago», and finally, after «a lot of travelling and many kilometres covered», the film premiered eight months ago at the Berlin Festival, as Almudena Carracedo recalls. On 16th November, it will premiere in 20 cities in Spain. «We have attended many festivals and we were really eager to come here», said the director, who returned to the festival which rewarded her first documentary ‘Made in L.A.’ with a special mention during the 52nd edition.

This documentary gives voice to the victims of the Franco dictatorship who tell their stories and their quest in the first person, hoping to give rise to dialogue and break the silence agreed with the 1977 Amnesty Law and its ‘pact to forget’. «It was forgotten by everyone», «this isn’t studied at school», «many young people don’t know about it» were some of the phrases uttered by the protagonists of the documentary. «The Amnesty Law has hindered investigations in Spain, but there is no statue of limitations on crimes against humanity nor is there any law to prevent their investigation», explains the Argentine judge investigating the complaint, María Servini, during the documentary.

Some protagonists, often very elderly, bequeathed their struggle to their children and other descendants, and never saw their story on the cinema screen. But The Silence of Others does not only focus on the search for deceased loves ones by families wishing to give them a decent burial. The seed of the project, explained the director, were the stolen children: «I lived in the USA and we were thinking about making the film in a year, and that didn’t happen because we found out about the Argentine case».

This led to a lengthy filming process which led them to spend many hours during long journeys with the protagonists. «We’re Complainants Around the World», joked one of the victims. On one of their trips to Argentina, where the complaint was lodged, the directors were accompanied by one of the protagonists, Ascensión Mendieta, who didn’t hesitate to travel 10,000 kilometres to find her father despite her 88 years of age.

María Martín did not travel to Argentina, but she is another of the victims who participated in the documentary, as she searched for her mother. She continues her mother’s struggle even today. Jose María Galante ‘Chato’, who attended the screening, is not searching for a family member, but rather for justice: at the age of 24, he was tortured by Antonio González Pacheco, ‘Billy El Niño’, and he is now ‘condemned’ to live just metres from his torturer, as he explains in the documentary. He appeals for «the social movement to exert pressure so that the complaint makes progress».

Posted in 63rd Seminci.