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THE SILENCE OF OTHERS

“There’s a mass grave here,” explains María Martín. The elderly woman leans against the guard rail from which she has just hung a bouquet of flowers. Her mother was murdered during the Franco regime, and her body has lain here now for almost a lifetime. María wants to rebury her mother’s remains, but excavating the grave is blocked due to a Spanish amnesty law adopted in 1977 that prohibits the prosecution of those who worked for the Franco regime for their “political” actions. What this means in practice is that crimes are being concealed and hushed up.

María is one of many Spaniards burdened by an unresolved past. It’s estimated that 100,000 victims are still buried in mass graves. Tens of thousands of babies disappeared from hospitals, and dissenters were tortured and imprisoned. For six years, filmmakers Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo followed a group of victims and family members attempting to use international law to prosecute some prominent figures from Franco’s regime in Argentina.