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Bones of Contention
Directed by Andrea Weiss
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film stillBONES OF CONTENTION is the first nonfiction feature film to explore the theme of historical memory in Spain, focusing on the repression of lesbians and gays under Franquismo and Spain's most famous poet, Federico Garcia Lorca. 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 desaparecidos lead a grassroots effort to uncover and identify the bones of their loved ones, despite opposition from the Spanish government.

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 weaves together two strands, the historical memory movement's campaign to uncover the past, and the search for the hidden lives of lesbians and gays under Franco. These strands are connected through the figure of Lorca, who was killed by a right-wing firing squad in the first few weeks of the Spanish Civil War. The mystery of his missing remains and the debates over their significance provide the narrative spine of the documentary, as he has become the symbol today for both the historical memory movement and the LGBT movement.

The film features interviews with:
Laura Garcia Lorca, President, Garcia Lorca Foundation
Emilio Silva, Founder, Asociacion para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historica
Antoni Ruiz and Silvia Reyes, imprisoned by the Franco regime due to their sexuality
Isabel Franc and Empar Pineda, lesbian witnesses and activists
Fernando Valverde, poet and Lorca scholar

"This chilling documentary revisits the fate of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, executed in 1936, and of others who are known only to their families." Screen International

"Andrea Weiss expertly captures the tensions and complexity of Lorca’s legacy–and of the larger political debate over the Historical Memory Law–in this carefully crafted film... this is documentary filmmaking at its best." Kafka's Door

"Rings out long after watching." Films for the Feminist Classroom

"A fine documentary about a 20th-century tragedy that still casts a long shadow over contemporary Spain, this is recommended."
Video Librarian

World Premiere, 2017 Berlin International Film Festival
2017 Frameline San Francisco LGBT Film Festival
2017 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival
2017 Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival
2017 Reeling Chicago LGBT Film Festival
2018 Western Psychological Association (WPA) Film Festival

75 minutes / Color
English; Spanish / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2017
Copyright: 2017

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This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Desaparecidos, Franco, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gay Studies, History (World), LGBTQ, Lesbian Studies, Memory, Mystery, Spain, Literature

Watch the trailer:

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