Review: A March to Remember
by Alfonso Rivera
- First-time director Victor Cabaco recreates a tragic historical episode that took place in Spain in 1976, with support from the audio-visual archives
Following the death of infamous dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain did not embrace liberty, justice and equal rights overnight; the fight against state tyranny was not yet over. A March to Remember pays tribute to that longer struggle. A fiction film based on true events, it marks the directorial debut of Santander’s Víctor Cabaco. Cabaco has recreated that eventful period in history through props, costumes and hairstyling, working with a script written by Juan Ibarrondo and Héctor Amado and a cast including Ruth Díaz (who won the Best Actress award in Venice in 2016 for her performance in The Fury of a Patient Man [+see also:
interview: Raúl Arévalo
film profile]), Mikel Iglesias and Amaia Aberasturi. He also draws extensively on documentary images and authentic police radio recordings, relics of the tragic day recalled by the film — Cabaco’s first full-length feature and a contender in the First Feature Competition at the Black Nights Festival in Tallinn.
With Álvaro Herrero’s editing creating some high-impact, fast-action moments and an overly epic score by José Luis Canal, A March to Remember has a certain feel reminiscent of a nostalgia-drenched TV series, but don’t be fooled: it quickly distances itself from period-drama cosiness and heads straight to the still-raw heart of this bloody and shameful episode, which occurred just as Spain was leaving the dictatorship behind it and embarking on a new era as a parliamentary monarchy. After decades of imposing their abuses through fear, intimidation and violence, those wielding power in Spain were not prepared to sit back and allow society to change.
Cabaco — erstwhile assistant director to Kepa Sojo, the Ibarretxe brothers and Koldo Serra, as well as having directed episodes of TV series Compañeros — evokes those turbulent days by honing in on one middle-class family that will be profoundly changed by events in their home town, the Basque city of Vitoria. The father, a journalist, will be subjected to blackmail by his powerful bosses, while his daughter secretly joins the workers’ cause, supporting a general strike and taking part in rallies violently dispersed by armed police. It is precisely this active feminine role in the events portrayed that scores extra points for this well-made and generally well-acted film, which pointedly reminds us that the murder of five workers, ordered by the central government, remains shamefully unpunished.
The world premiere of A March to Remember took place last September at the EiTB Gala as part of the 66th San Sebastián International Film Festival. Produced by Zaramaga Films AIE – Sonora Estudios and Gariza Films, with support from ICAA, it will be distributed by Barton Films. Filmax is handling international sales.
(Translated from Spanish)
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