Bars in the Memory

Director: Manuel Palacios

Spain| 2004. English subtitles. Colour. 86 min.

Unlocking historical doors sealed for decades, director Manuel Palacios’ Bars in the Memory balances analysis and emotion in its thorough study of the persecution of nearly 500,000 political prisoners held in concentration camps in Spain by Franco’s Fascist regime. The extent of the network of prison camps will stun most non-Spaniards, but it is the human faces of the survivors that lends this documentary a special grace and power. The gallery of historians and writers (including Jorge Semprun) is impressive enough, but it is the group of now-elderly former prisoners, sturdy and stalwart while recalling their darkest times, that brings history fully to life.

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