BONES OF CONTENTION by Andrea Weiss
"Bones of Contention" explores the theme of historical memory in Spain, focusing on the repression of lesbians and gays under Franquismo. What happened to LGBT people during the Franco regime? This film uncovers their stories and breaks their silence for the first time.
Lining the roads of Spain, masked by miles and miles of pine trees, are unmarked graves in which over a hundred twenty thousand victims of the Franco regime are buried. Today the families of the disappeared lead a grassroots effort to uncover and identify the bones of their loved ones. Invisible to the eye but hyper-visible in the mind, these mass graves of Spain’s missing persons are an apt metaphor for the historical memory conundrum. How does a country excavate a past that is actively suppressed?
The film’s two thematic strands — the historical memory movement’s campaign to uncover the past (literally and figuratively) and the search for the hidden lives of lesbians and gays under Franco — are connected through the figure of Spain’s most famous poet, Federico García Lorca, who was killed by a right-wing firing squad in the first few weeks of the Spanish Civil War. He has become the symbol for both the historical memory movement and the LGBT movement today. This documentary essay ruminates on the theme of historical memory, unearths the untold story of LGBT experience under Franco, and considers how the historical memory movement in Spain serves as a site of struggle and resistance against official narratives.
Funded in part by a U.S./Spain Fulbright Award Fellowship, 2015. Read more about this project on NBCNews.com.