This extremely moving Spanish historical drama with the backdrop of Spanish civil war is the story of a man who spends 30 years hiding in extreme isolation to escape retribution from the ruling authorities.
The film not only shines as a craft but is about a lot more things than just the story that it narrates.
It’s about the perils of war, toxicity of fear, ruination of lives and happiness, but more than that I feel it is a story of strength ,survival and the power of love.
Cast – Antonio De la Torre , Belen Cuesta
Director – Jon Garano ,Aiter Arregi, Jose Marie Goenaga
Higinio( Antonio) and Rosa (Belen) are newly-weds in 1933. With the onset of Spanish civil war, their lives turn upside down. Higinio, who is a left leaning republican, fears execution by the Fascists and is forced into hiding in a small trench in his own house. Their love and desperation to be with each other leads them to an unfathomable journey of 30 years that he spends in hiding and she spends hiding him, braving all kind of circumstances and managing life.
The story takes us through an immersive experience of the gamut of emotions they go through. The claustrophobia , the fear , the desperate peeps into the world , incredible physical circumstances that he lives through , unparalleled courage that she portrays , their love , their frustrations ,her stray accusations that he lacks the courage to face the world, his growing agoraphobia, traces of selfishness on his part , traces of weariness on her part, extreme loneliness for both of them but most of important of all ,what prevails is their determination and resilience that never lets them give up.
The film portrays angst of scores of republicans who spent their lifetimes in hiding till 1960s when finally they were officially granted amnesty. The film is based on real life accounts of many such survivors.
It is an outstanding portrayal of isolation and intense survival instincts.
It’s a film that was on my list for quite some time but given its subject of isolation and our grim circumstances of lockdown , I was avoiding. But contrarily , it was an impactful lesson.
What one could see as fear and lack of courage in Higinio could actually be seen as strength to brave isolation and his love for life . It’s all about perspectives. Ironically ,those are precisely the dilemmas being faced by the world today.
The film has won critical acclaim and accolades for the sensitive and deeply moving portrayal of the subject and an outstanding performance by Antonio.
Its highly recommended for those who might be interested in a film that’s slow , beautiful, engaging and immensely impactful !
I would coin it as a survival film at its best.