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Conflict and Controversy in Small Cinemas

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Edited By Janina Falkowska and Krzysztof Loska

This book examines small cinemas and their presentation of society in times of crisis and conflict from an interdisciplinary and intercultural point of view. The authors concentrate on economic, social and political challenges and point to new phenomena which have been exposed by film directors. They present essays on, among others, Basque cinema; gendered controversies in post-communist small cinemas in Slovakia and Czech Republic; ethnic stereotypes in the works of Polish filmmakers; stereotypical representation of women in Japanese avant-garde; post-communist political myths in Hungary; the separatist movements of Catalonia; people in diasporas and during migrations. In view of these timely topics, the book touches on the most serious social and political problems. The films discussed provide an excellent platform for enhancing debates on politics, gender, migration and new aesthetics in cinema at departments of history, sociology, literature and film.

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3. Are they terrorists or victims? Basque cinema, violence and memory (Katixa Agirre)

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Katixa Agirre

NOR Research Group, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

3. Are they terrorists or victims? Basque cinema, violence and memory

Abstract: Basque cinema from the last decade has apparently neglected political conflict and recent violence. The film Lasa eta Zabala (2014), by Pablo Malo, is one of the exceptional cases in which Basque recent violent past is revisited on-screen. Starting in 1983, it tells the real story of two young ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) militants who are refugees in the French Basque Country and are soon to become the first two official victims of the GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberacion), the state-sponsored death squad that killed 27 people between 1983 and 1987. Lasa and Zabala were kidnapped, tortured for months, and then executed and buried. Lasa eta Zabala engages with a difficult topic, since it tells the story of two victims that were originally – and according to the official memory – terrorists, and their executioners were civil guards, the police force that was for years ETA’s primary target.

Based on an in-depth interview with the screenwriter, in this chapter, I present Lasa eta Zabala as a flawed contribution toward a historical memory. Knowing the controversial material they are dealing with, screenwriter and director deploy different strategies to make their film less inflammatory, but the result is incoherent and confusing. As many authors (Labanyi, Crumbaugh, and Verdery) have noted when reflecting on the Spanish civil war and Franco...

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