At the heart of the film is the contradiction summed up by one of the lawyers in the case, the late human rights specialist Carlos Slepoy: “When someone is murdered it is clear: the courts must prosecute the criminal. “Yet when we talk about genocide, or crimes against humanity, it’s not so clear. Instead, people start looking for arguments – ‘it was a long time ago’, ‘it’s better to forget’, ‘we must turn the page’.”
The Silence of Others, backed by Pedro Almodóvar, seeks to end amnesia over dictator’s victims
Chato Galante returns to the jail cell where he was imprisoned as a 24-year-old for opposing the Franco dictatorship. Photograph: Almudena Carracedo Chato Galante, who was stripped of his youth in the prison cells and torture rooms of Franco’s Spain, likes to joke that he is an “unrepentant optimist”. He has had to be.
María Martín sits by the road which covers the mass grave containing her
mother’s remains. Photograph: Almudena Carracedo
Almost half a century has passed since he was beaten and jailed for his efforts to fight the dictatorship, but he remains confident that justice will be done, that his torturers will answer publicly for their crimes and that his convictions will be overturned. Equally optimistic is Paqui Maqueda. Sooner or later, she says, Spain will find the courage to confront the Franco years and their insidious legacy. Perhaps then she will establish what happened to her elder brother, who is thought to have been one of the thousands of children secretly and systematically stolen from their mothers at birth to be placed with less “degenerate” families.
Galante and Maqueda’s stories feature in an award-winning documentary due to be shown at Sheffield Doc/Fest on Saturday that examines the enduring consequences of the amnesty law and the “pact of forgetting” that facilitated Spain’s return to democracy after Franco’s death in 1975.
The Silence of Others, directed by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, chronicles the fight for justice as well as the search for the stolen children and the 100,000 bodies still thought to lie in unmarked civil war graves. Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar are the film’s executive producers.
“Part of it was trying to understand how all of this is possible,” says Carracedo... read more: