Move on by forgetting? Award-winning film ‘The Silence of Others’ tells why it’s not that easy

Spain passed in 1977 an amnesty law that has come to be known as “the pact of forgetting”. It prohibits the prosecution of any crime against humanity committed during the 40-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco for the sake of the country’s healing. But for much of the population, there is no peace in silence.

From March 25 to 27, Dokyu Power Documentary Film Festival will screen for free a film about the struggle of the victims and their families and their groundbreaking international lawsuit to fight “the pact of forgetting.”

Entitled The Silence of Othersthe film is a cautionary tale about fascism and the dangers of forgetting the past. It is executive produced by Pedro Almodóvar and directed by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar.

“We programmed this award-winning film to shed light on this ongoing legal battle and at the same time, explain why victims need justice, even decades after the crimes were committed. We also want to add to the discussion on the importance of talking about history before it leads to conflicting collective memory,” explains Kara Magsanoc Alikpala, president of the Filipino Documentary Society (FilDocs), one of the groups behind Dokyu Power.

Filmed over six-years, The Silence of Others tells the story of people like José María Galante, who lives meters away from the man who tortured him.  Unknown to much of the world, in Spain today, torture victims live just blocks from their notorious police torturers who walk free everyday. 

It also features the stories of families desperate to recover the bodies of their loved ones from thousands of mass graves across Spain. They are blocked by their own government from doing so. Ascensión Mendieta Ibarra, is one of them. She seeks to recover the bones of her father who died in 1939.

In addition to murders, forced disappearances and torture, babies belonging to opponents’ families were kidnapped to be given to political supporters. Tens of thousands of parents continue to search for their children who were likely stolen at birth. 

The Silence of Others has won more the 40 international prizes, including the 2019 Goya for Best Feature Documentary (Spain’s Academy Award), two Emmy Awards (Emmy for Best Documentary and Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary), Peabody Award, and Panorama Audience Award and Peace Film Prize at the Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival). It was also shortlisted for Best Feature Documentary for the 2019 Academy Awards. 

 

Screening is for free via MOOV by Cinema Centenario. It may be accessed at cinemacentenario.com/dokyu-power.

The film festival Dokyu Power is organized together with Dakila and its Active Vista Center. It is supported by Cinema Centenario, Purin Film Fund and Rappler’s Move.Ph.

The organizers aim for the film festival to inspire Filipinos to claim their voices and vote in the Philippine national elections in May 2022 by presenting stories that show parallels of history and of people’s struggles towards empowerment. It is inspired by various people’s movements and our country’s own People Power. The festival started last February 25, during the anniversary of People Power and will end on April 9, during the country’s celebration of the Day of Valor. 

A Q&A with the film directors will also be presented by the organizers on March 25, from 8 PM to 8:30 PM, on the festival’s Facebook page (facebook.com/DaangDokyu). The event will provide audiences a closer look at the film and will discuss the film’s parallels to the current state of the country.

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