Inspired by real events, this incredibly intense feature film reveals a little-known facet of the history of Francoism.
They are called “moles”. Dozens of anti-Franco Republicans shut themselves up in their homes, in hiding for some thirty years, to escape the violent repression of the Franco regime from 1936 to 1969. A secret life, which comes out Wednesday, October 28, traces an edifying history.
In 1936, Higinio, a Spanish Republican partisan threatened by Franco’s troops in his village in Andalusia, decided to hide in his house with the help of his wife Rosa. He finds a new, more spacious hiding place with Higinio’s father, who dies shortly after leaving them the house. Harassed by a zealous informer neighbor, the couple resist and even manage to have a child. They will live cloistered, in lies and under terror for 30 years, until the amnesty of the ex-republicans in 1969.
Goya (the Spanish Caesar) for best actress for Belén Cuesta (Rosa), prize for best director and best screenplay at the San Sebastian Festival, shortlisted at the Oscars for best foreign film, A secret life largely deserves these honors. From the first images until the outcome, the viewer, going through all the emotions, is caught up in this Kafkaesque drama of Franco’s Spain.
It took no less than three directors, Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi and José Mari Goenaga, as well as two screenwriters, Oscar Corrales and Enrique Asenjo, to achieve this remarkable achievement. A challenge to keep the public in suspense for nearly 2h30 between four boards or almost, without releasing for a second the intensity, the suspense, the inner revolt.
The omnipresent actors Antonio de la Torre and Belén Cuesta have a lot to do with it, but so do the cameras of the three directors. They multiply the angles, find improbable framing, exploit the wide screen to better reflect the confinement and the drama experienced by the characters. The editing is dynamic and propels the story constantly forward. The boxes giving before each sequence the definition of words such as “Raid,” Hide “,” Lock up “,” Bury “,” Exit “punctuate the film and announce what is to come with distanced humor.
Second feature film in three weeks around the Spanish Civil War, after the formidable cartoon Josep, A secret life highlights a forgotten history of Francoism, at a time when its supporters are waking up on the other side of the Pyrenees. A wake-up call which, we hope, will also be heard in France, as in many countries in Europe and elsewhere, where the whiff of state repression and the regression of freedoms are felt. A must see.
Kind : Drama
Directors : Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi, José Mari Goenaga
Actors : Antonio de la Torre, Belén Cuesta, Vicente Vergara
Country : Spain / France
Duration : 2h27
Exit : October 28, 2020
Distributor : Epicenter Films
Warning: scenes, words or images may offend the spectators’ sensitivity
Synopsis : Spain, 1936. Higinio, a Republican partisan, sees his life threatened by the arrival of Franco’s troops. With the help of his wife Rosa, he decides to hide in their own house. The fear of reprisals and the love they feel for each other condemn the couple to captivity.