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“Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s victims and their descendants to exhume (in some cases quite literally) the skeletons of an ugly past protected by Parliament, Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo’s straightforward but emotionally acute documentary works as both a thorough history lesson and a work of contemporary activism. Much-garlanded on the documentary festival circuit, it should benefit from the arthouse imprimatur of executive producers Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar when it opens theatrically on May 8, before finding a wider audience on streaming platforms.
Bahar and Carracedo’s film boasts less stylistic brio than you might expect given the Almodóvars’ backing, yet it’s easy to see how the Spanish master would latch onto a project so flooded with red, raw feeling: “The Silence of Others” collates multiple narratives of intense individual and familial grief into a furious, near-operatic surge of national pain. If anything, this gripping, densely packed doc risks being overwhelmed by the sheer scale of emotion on display in even its secondary investigations: There are several stories here, of mothers seeking stolen babies or torture survivors living adjacent to the enemy, that merit feature-length studies of their own. Intricately assembled and edited from over six years of shooting and gathering — with the protracted arc of one long-hobbled court case lending a dramatic spine — the film could easily have exceeded its 95-minute runtime and not outstayed its welcome.
Film - Review - Silence - Others
Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'
The opening minutes plunge us directly into darkest heartbreak, as Maria Martin, a frail octogenarian in a rural...
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