Silencio roto (Broken Silence) (2001)




Director:     Montxo Armendriz.  

Starring:     Luca Jimnez (Luca), Juan Diego Botto (Manuel), Mercedes Sampietro (Teresa), lvaro de Luna (Don Hilario), Mara Botto (Lola), Rubn Ochandiano (Sebas), Mara Vzquez (Sole), Joseba Apaolaza (Teniente), Pepo Oliva (Cosme), Jordi Bosch (Sargento), Ramn Barea (Antonio), Alicia Snchez (Rosario), Helio Pedregal (Matas), Ander Erburj (Juan-8 years), Andoni Erburu (Juan).

a young woman loves a Republican rebel which leads to a great many problems for her


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie. 

Gunshots are heard in the woods.

Autumn 1944. The bus arrives in a small village. Luca gets off the bus and is greeted by Lola and a young man known as Shepherd. She goes into a small bar to greet her aunt. In the bar is Don Hilario, an old teacher who the Franco dictatorship threw in jail. Luca next visits with her uncle who is bed-ridden. The next person she visits is the blacksmith Manuel, who she likes a great deal. Whiles she talks with Manuel, they both see Francos police bring in a dead body slung over a horse. Manuel tells Luca that his father Matas went to the hills with the rebels two years ago. Lucia asks him: "Are the Maquis still up there?" Yes.

Some women of the village gather outside the police station near the dead body. They want to be shown the dead mans face. A policeman uncovers the mans face, saying: "Hes not one of yours."

At home with her aunt, Luca remarks that the war ended two years ago. Her aunt says that this is no ordinary war. "This one will never be over." Lucia asks why the government still keeps talking about five years of peace. Her aunt tells her: "Trust no one, Luca."

Sole, the chiefs wife, comes to the bar and visits with Lucia for a while. The police sergeant makes Shepherd drink an entire bottle of oil as punishment for a seemingly innocuous comment at a card game. Luca hears about the secretary's son, the pen pusher, Alfredo.  Lola tells Lucia that life in the village is hell.  Luca says she came back to the village in order to work in order to help her mother who has five mouths to feed. 

Sole comes to Lucia and her aunt to say that Manuel was reported to the Civil Guard.  Lucia runs to warn Manuel.  Manuel decides to run literally for the hills, but before he leaves he gives a document to Lucia to give to Hilario.  He also tells her to warn Julia, the contact with the rebels.  Manuel leaves.  Luca tries to give the document to Hilario, but he tells her to keep it for now.  Hilario tells her that if the Civil Guard does not find Manuel, they will just grab Rosario and take him to the barracks. 

Luca visits with Uncle Cosme.  He tells her to turn up the radio volume so that he does not have to hear the screams of those persons being tortured by the Civil Guard.  Lucia goes to Lola's place.  She learns that the Civil Guard caught the rebel contact and that's why they want Manuel.  Lucia rides Lola's bike to Genaro's place  to deliver the messages about what has recently happened.  Along the way she meets with Shepherd.  She warns him and tells him to go north, while she visits Genaro.  At Genaro's house, she delivers a letter from Genaro's son who is fighting with the Allies against Germany.  While at Genaro's place, three rebels arrive: Turuta, Mateo and Antonio. 

Luca finds Manuel, but the reunion is short.  Lucia returns to the village.  Her aunt asks her where she has been and slaps Lucia when she is not forthcoming with an acceptable answer.  She says that Luca is just like her father, who was executed by the Civil Guard.  The aunt tells her to stop communicating with the rebels.  But Lucia replies:  "Someone has to help them."

Summer 1946.  The rebels take over the village by force.  Manuel's father, Matas, visits Uncle Cosme to threaten him about informing on those who help the rebels.  After Matas leaves, the uncle asks his wife to get his pistol for him.  The rebels execute the sergeant of the Civil Guard and a villager. 

The news on the rebel radio station says that the Republican guerrillas have taken 30 different towns in Spain.  The villagers are happy to hear the news.  Manuel and Luca get together again and this time have sex.  Three truckloads of Civil Guards arrive in the town center and retake the village.  The rebels run to the hills again.  The villagers are all brought into the village square.  A woman tries to defend her recently captured husband and is shot in the head by the Lieutenant.  Then Alfredo identifies all the rebel collaborators in the village and they are taken away to be interrogated.  Alfredo does not finger Lucia because he likes her. 

The Lieutenant wants to talk with Juan, a small boy who works with the rebels.  Hilario and Lola go with him to see the Lieutenant.  The Lieutenant has Juan start digging a grave for his father for the time when they finally catch him.  Luca learns that Uncle Cosme had reported his wife and Hilario, who were lovers, and that he also reported Lola's father.  Hilario received a beating.  Lola tells Luca that she has a plan in which the rebels will be interested.  Lucia threatens Cosme about snitching against just one more person. 

Luca rides out again.  She tells the rebels about Lola's plan.  They are interested.  Luca goes with Antonio to see Manuel.  When she finds him, however, she discovers that he just finished having sex with another woman.  Luca leaves. 

Luca dances with the informer Alfredo at a party.  She agrees to go on a automobile ride with him.  Alfredo leaves to get his car.  Gun shots are heard.  Alfredo's car slowly approaches the dance hall.  When it stops everyone sees Alfredo's dead boy in the car.  In the car is a note saying:  "Death to the snitches."  Lola's mother is to be taken into the Civil Guard.  She prevents this from happening, by hanging herself.  Lola finds the body.  Hilario puts the corpse in a wheel barrow and pushes it down to Civil Guard headquarters.  The Lieutenant tells Hilario to go home. 

Manuel arrives to see Luca.  She tells Manuel that his mother is dead.  She then asks:  "Are all these deaths worth it?"  Manuel is sure that the deaths are justified in order to get rid of the Franco dictatorship.  Manuel and Luca kiss. 

Luca quits running messages to the rebels.  She tells Hilario that she is pregnant.  Hilario tells her to go back to her mother.  Word arrives that Manuel's father is dead.  The death is suspicious because it is said that he "fell off a cliff".  Luca asks Manuel to leave with her, but he says no. 

Winter 1948.  Luca comes back for a visit to the village.  Lola is very distant toward her.  She has not been the same ever since the Civil Guard killed Shepherd.  They forced Shepherd to take them to the rebel camp and then used him as a shield.  He was the first to be killed.   The town is like a cemetery now. 

Luca has a one year old daughter about which she wants to tell Manuel.  The rebels warn Luca about the dangers of trying to find Manuel, but Luca will not be discouraged.   Luca learns that the Civil Guard has been disguising some of their men as rebels.  Luca goes to Genaro's house.  She then goes with Antonio to see Manuel.  She finds Manuel and shows him a picture of his daughter.  She tells Manuel that she got the papers necessary to make it possible for him to cross the French border.  But Manuel won't go.  The rebels capture Sole's husband and Antonio shoots him.  Luca is repulsed by this and leaves the camp in disgust. 

Someone informs on Hilario and Luca's aunt and they are arrested.  Luca is also grabbed.  While in police headquarters, Manuel and another rebel are brought in.  The Lieutenant tells Hilario, the aunt and Luca to cooperate or be tortured into cooperation.  Hilario tries to escape and is shot in the back and killed.  Manuel is beaten.  Luca is able to see him for awhile.  Then the Lieutenant comes in and tells the guards to take Manuel and the aunt for a walk.  A little while later Luca hears the shots of the executions.  The Lieutenant then releases Luca.

Luca talks with Lola and wonders out loud if she turned in Hilario and her aunt.  Lola asks Luca if she denied it, would Luca believe her.  Luca visits the grave of Manuel and places his daughter's picture on it.  She then takes the bus back home to her daughter. 


Good movie.  The effort to smash the Republican rebels hiding in the hills, reveals the terrible nature of Franco's dictatorial rule in Spain. Many of their methods resemble those used by the Nazis in World War II.  Luca wants to earn some money and run away with Manuel, but the armed struggle stands in the way of her ever achieving these goals.  After awhile, Luca becomes disgusted with the horrors she sees and wonder whether the struggle is worth all the horrors it entails? 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical note:

After World War II, the Spanish republicans in France started the anti-Nazi resistance, known as the maquis.



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