Paris (AFP)

Survive against all odds.

Even if that means hiding underground for 30 years.

"A Secret Life", a poignant story about these Spanish Republicans forced into hiding to escape the repression of the Franco regime (1939-1975), is released in theaters on Wednesday.

This 2h30 film was produced by three Basque directors: Aitor Arregi, Jon Garano and Jose Mari Goenaga, known in particular for the film "Handia" (2017), which was shortlisted for the Oscars.

In this new film, the three men are interested in the true and little known history, in France as in Spain, of hundreds of "moles", these Republicans who are locked in their homes to escape the Franco dictatorship.

A Kafkaesque story carried by a duo that breaks the screen: Antonio de la Torre, 52, who plays Higinio, an Andalusian Republican partisan, threatened with death by the arrival of Franco's troops, and Belén Cuesta, 36, (Goya de the best actress), in the role of Rosa, his wife.

In his hole dug under the floor of his own kitchen, Higinio is both so close and yet so far from life, which continues its course despite everything.

It is this ambivalence that the directors wanted to show the spectator and which makes this film a film of resistance fighters.

Because this situation, which was to be provisional, will last until March 1969, date of the decree which prescribes all the crimes allegedly committed before the end of the civil war (1936-1939).

Through this film, "I wanted to tell my father's story (...) I often heard my mother tell how my grandmother had experienced hunger, fear. We all need to tell , talk about the civil war ", explains to AFP Antonio de la Torre, pointing to the" Spanish anomaly "which means that, 45 years after Franco's death, the question around historical memory remains a politically inflammable subject.

The film also throws a harsh light on the fate of the "women of red".

While the men have taken the road to exile, have been killed, or reduced to hiding like Higinio, the women are thrown into popular revenge.

In the film, while Franco's troops are looking for Higinio, Rosa is the one who pays the price for the revenge of her neighbors but also of the regime: threats, intimidation ... Her head will even be shaved.

"A Secret Life" also lingers on the lost illusions of these men and women, fighters for fascism, who waited for years for the allies to come "free" them from Franco's regime.

Which they never did.

© 2020 AFP