The Silence of Others 3.0 stars

Silence of Others movie poster

Directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s documentary does for the victims of Franco’s reign in Spain what Finding Oscar did for massacre victims in Guatemala — that is, track the dogged efforts of those who refuse to let the past stay buried when the suffering it caused is still very much alive. They have a monumental task. For starters, forgetting is not just convenient for those in power, it’s official policy, thanks to the amnesty at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The bad guys got to stay in power while the courts insisted that bygones be bygones. And they were bad guys: abducting infants, torturing and disappearing dissidents, even denying those who remained the consolation of removing their loved ones from post-slaughter mass graves. There is an unfortunate excess of people sitting at computers, riding in cars, walking into buildings, etc. But there are still more than enough arresting visuals — of both the horrific and moving variety — to justify putting the story on film. The notion that Franco was an anti-communist champion is trotted out but not substantively addressed, because there is no need to address it here. The film is content to let its subjects’ stories make the case that no end, worthy or otherwise, justifies these brutal means against one’s own. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

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