Series review: La línea invisible
- Mariano Barroso avails himself of a cast of first-rate actors, toplined by Antonio de la Torre and Álex Monner, and a somewhat classical narrative as he recreates the origins of ETA
The date was set for this Wednesday, 8 April, at 10 pm: the team was to present the online premiere of La línea invisible (lit. “The Invisible Line”), each person from his or her own home, suitably dressed for the occasion. And so director Mariano Barroso and lead actors Àlex Monner, Antonio de la Torre, Anna Castillo, Asier Etxeandia, Patrick Criado and Enric Auquer introduced the first two episodes of this series, which is free to air and to view (via the Movistar + YouTube channel), and which describes, from a simultaneously historical and personal perspective, how the terrorist group ETA came into being. This was an entity that left mortal victims strewn not only across the Basque Country, but also across large swathes of Spain itself, for decades, until its definitive disbandment in 2018. The remaining episodes – another four of them, each lasting 45 minutes – will be viewable on Movistar + following this “quarantined” premiere gala, which each guest had to attend using their own computer equipment. It’s a sign of the times we are now forced to live in and has perhaps set a precedent – streaming film premieres – which may end up being repeated fairly regularly.
But let’s get back to La línea invisible, whose title alludes to the line of lawlessness that a bunch of young Basque people decided to cross in their fight against the bloody Franco dictatorship. The political group ETA, initially neither armed nor violent, was formed in 1959, buoyed by a glut of revolutionary aspirations and ideas in its quest for a freer, fairer and more democratic country. But a decade later, on the day when two of its members fired the first deadly bullet at a member of the Civil Guard, everything took a violent turn that spilt gallons of blood and caused untold pain.
From an idea by Abel García Roure, which screenwriters Michel Gaztambide and Alejandro Hernández developed with the involvement of Barroso himself, the Barcelona-born filmmaker – as he also did in his previous series for Movistar +, What the Future Holds – relies heavily on the characters, with all their contrasting light and shade, insecurities and emotions, to tell the official history by way of the personal stories of the key figures involved. And so the director of Ants in the Mouth and his camera – ever sleek and with a classical flavour – accompanies not only the members of the rebel group, but also those of the Francoist forces and authorities that pursued them. As it goes on, La línea invisible eventually ends up becoming a thriller that unfolds in some stunning settings – many of which are the actual places where the events being recreated on screen really happened – in the Basque Country, bathed in that northern Spanish light that stylises the proceedings while simultaneously conveying a certain sadness.
(Translated from Spanish)
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