Some time ago

Iñaki Arteta (Bilbao, 1959)

decided to become, more out of responsibility than pride, the official "ash" of the Basque labyrinth.

And understand the irony: compared to those who only look to the future as the most comfortable atonement for all their own and collective mistakes,

Arteta lives committed to the uncomfortable need to record and understand the past

with each of its innumerable cacophonies.

And from there, from the memory that is not the oblivion, to build, precisely, the future.

Of s

u hand and thanks to movies like '


'(2004) or'

Thirteen out of a thousand '

(2005), the filmography on terrorism in the Basque Country witnessed a turn as unexpected as it was necessarily obvious:

the protagonists became the victims,

that is, those who added to the silence of the drama in their own flesh the no less tragic stigma of marginalization.

So it was.

Since then, the cinema of this stubborn Basque (much better than ashen) has been the closest thing to a fight against silence from all points of view: against the silence imposed on those who were silent forever and, now, against what the director calls

"silence as safe conduct"


'Under the silence

', his latest work presented today at Seminci, is apparently (just apparently) a turn of the wheel on all his previous work.

Now those who have to speak and speak are those who, curiously, prefer to be silent.

If before the victims were the silenced, now they are

"the others" those who opt for silence


"It's curious because for years Basque society has been looking the other way. People died and their neighbors led normal lives. I myself, who was 22 years old in 1980, the most sinister year, and was studying architecture, I remember leafing through the newspapers with a total indifference towards the dead. Nobody was surprised by anything, "he recalls.

"But now something similar and just as suspicious is happening.

No one, not even the repentant, speak of the past anymore.

As if nothing had happened.

As if the best thing was not to say anything ", he says and insists:" Silence is now the safe conduct. "Indeed, with the collaboration of the journalist

Felipe Larach

, the film from a distance, without showing astonishment or disgust, limits itself to giving the voice to, among others, a good part of those who justified, understood or only excused the violence then and, consciously or out of guilty ignorance, do so now.

The documentary is offered raw and, with obvious exceptions, does not explicitly discuss anything that is heard.

He prefers to show the contradictions and, as it were, let the statements fight against themselves.

They speak, indeed, characters that nobody would imagine in the cinema of Arteta.

And hence the fascination and amazement.

The current priest of Lemoa, for example, sets the tone.

The priest who now inherits the square from the one who supposedly collaborated in the murder of the Civil Guard José Olaya right there explains his ideology: "In principle it was not terrorism, but a response to a situation of repression ... Fighting against that oppression was fair ... .

[Faced with a murder] on the one hand you rejoice and on the other, it is not right ...

The oppression of the Basque people is real.

It was and is ... We have all done it wrong ... We must respect people who do not regret it ... There should be more painted by the prisoners.

How many of your family members die on the road? ... The word terrorism bursts me ... In the face of an attack, one responds with another attack.

It was a war between sides, there was no terrorism ... Everyone admits that it was wrong, but perhaps there was no other way to do it ... They only talk about victims of ETA,

but there are other victims in jail right now "


And so on, Larach meets, among others, with the

Mayor of Bildu de Etxarri-Aranatz


with a terrorist with the sentence served (besides philologist, anthropologist and journalist);

with a professor at the University of the Basque Country who previously belonged to the armed gang;

with the director of an ikastola;

with a councilwoman from Hernani;

with a group of high school students;

with the son of an ETA member who died in prison or, better known, the former leader of HB

Floren aoiz

, The novelist

Kirmen Uribe

or one of those convicted of the death of the civil guard Félix de Diego (there are more on the list. Among the most prominent, two widows of murdered agents, a student victim of harassment at the UPV or the socialist mayor of Irún) .Good part of them, at a certain point, or they do not want to talk about what happened some time ago, or they resort to the argument of the priest in any of their points, or they say they do not know who are those portrayed on the wall of the consistory, or they simply demand by order :

silence, turn the page and think about the future rather than the past.

Some go back to the beginning of the Civil War to justify a diffuse line of violence;

another goes further back and brings up "the Castilian invasion of Navarra";

some of the youngest mix 11-M with Carrero Blanco, and the councilor translates to the reporter a banner that reads "The people don't forgive" in Basque for "We don't forget you."

At one point the writer Kirmen Uribe remains silent, unable to answer the question: How to explain what happened so that it does not happen again?

"This interview bothers me"

He confesses confused.

Who knows if the confusion is itself a confession. "Someone recently told me that neither victims nor murderers deserve to be forgotten. And I think that's the basics.

We must not forget either one or the other.

The seconds have to tell why they did what they did.

You have to talk about it because we are not talking about a story from the past.

It is the present of a traumatized society.

We live surrounded by people who have done wrong and we have to talk about it.

The reasoning of keeping quiet in order not to get into trouble worked before and it does now, "Arteta reasoned in a run. The director says that he did not want to identify the interlocutors (" although there are enough clues about many of them ") because now it matters more than ever the what and not the who: “They are archetypes.” He reasons that the choice of the characters had a lot of chance and even more of inevitable:

"It is what it is".

And for the end he leaves, once again, the amazement: "I am struck when a Spaniard from outside the Basque Country sees one of my films or reads'


'by Aramburu, and he tells me:

'But did this really happen?'

And he says it as if he lived in Norway.

I think the same thing happens now.

There is an image of the peace that we live after the end of ETA that does not correspond to reality.

"Arteta is convinced that the '


'of series, films and documentaries about ETA that we live now is good.


"It gives me the impression that there is a conciliation obligation that misrepresents everything a bit.

There is like an effort that only comfortable questions are worth ... And no, the reality seems different, "he concludes. And it is not so much because of ashy as because of stubbornness. And clarity.

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