July 18, 1936. Salamanca, Castilla and León (center to Spain). The Spanish army declares the state of war in the city, hoping to extend it to the rest of Spain and improve the unstable situation in the country after the proclamation of the Second Republic five years ago. An aging Miguel de Unamuno, not only writer and academic teacher but one of the most recognized intellectuals in Spain, disappointed with the Republic that publicly he helped to create, supports the new revolt in the hope to clean the country of the undesirable elements for desperation of his close friends teacher Salvador and priest Atilano, creating too many problems in his house where Miguel lives with his daughters María and Felisa, his housemaid Aurelia and his grandson Miguelín. At the same time that Salamanca's mayor Casto Prieto is arrested without cause apparent and his wife Ana asks help Miguel de Unamuno, the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet to decide the strategy to take the power, where the merciless one-eyed, ...Written by
Despite the high precision with which some key moments in this film are traced, such as the fact that Unamuno used the letter from the widow of the Protestant pastor Atilano Coco to write the draft of his speech, it is not true that Millán Astray bellowed "España Una, Grande, Libre" (Spain One, Great and Free) after the writer's harangue, since this nationalist phrase was not yet pronounced at state events, only at those held by the Falange. He did shout instead patriotic proclamations. See more »
Nice and thought-provoking drama with excellent interpretations and adequate settings
Semi-biograhic story about writer Miguel de Unamuno takes off himself and his ideals after the 1936's military coup d'etat . It is set July 18 , 1936 , Salamanca, Castilla and León (center to Spain) , as the Spanish army declares in the city the state of wa r, hoping to extend it to the rest of Spain and improve the unstable situation in the country after the proclamation of the Second Republic five years ago . Here Unamuno (Karra Elejalde) supports the new revolt in the hope to clean the country of the undesirable elements for desperation of his close friends teacher Salvador and priest Atilano, creating too problems in his house where Miguel lives with his daughters María (Patricia López Arnaiz) and Felisa (Inma Cuevas) , his servant Aurelia and his grandson Miguelín (Arnau) . At the same time that Salamanca's mayor Casto Prieto (Mariano Llorente) is detained without cause apparent and his spouse Ana Carrasco (Nathalie Poza) asks help Miguel de Unamuno . While Joint Chiefs of Staff meet deciding the strategy to take the power , where General Astray-Millán (Eduard Fernandez) , General Franco's right-hand, proposes to elect the own Franco as leader despite the opposition of General Cabanellas (Tito Valverde) , who fears Franco eliminates the Republic he loves to change it for a dictatorship . When Atilano (Luis Zahera) disappears suddenly , his wife Enriqueta reports Miguel de Unamuno about his arrest while Salvador (Carlos Serrano) attempts to alert him about the real intentions of the military revolution : turn Spain into a rigid dictatorship. As Francisco Franco (Santi Prego) is named Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army and Unamuno decides to make him a special request . Later on , Unamuno had a public quarrel with the Nationalist general Millán Astray at the university in which he denounced both Astray-with whom he had had verbal battles in the 1920s-and elements of the rebel movement. He called the battle cry of the elite Spanish Legion-"Long live death!"-repellent and suggested Astray wanted to see Spain crippled. One historian notes that his address was a "remarkable act of moral courage" and that he risked being lynched on the spot but was saved by Franco's wife, who took him out of the place . Shortly afterwards, Unamuno was effectively removed for a second time from the rectorship of the University of Salamanca .
A good drama based on historical events , though the film has several errors and false remarks . It narrates itself Unamuno's life in Salamanca , being first-hand witness of the deeds that will change Spain forever. Here Unamuno is a contradictory , reluctant , complex person who finally becomes an ashamed and sad man , questioning himself and his previous posture . Karra Elejalde delivers a terrific acting as an aging Miguel de Unamuno, not only writer and academic teacher but one of the most recognized intellectuals in Spain, disappointed with the Republic that publicly he helped to create . While Eduard Fernandez gives a fine performance as the relentless one-eyed, one-armed and one-legged General Millan Astray , though overacting , at times ; as Eduard deservedly won a Goya Award : the best support cast . In the picture appears various historical characters represented by fine secondary actors , such as : Tito Valverde as General Miguel Cabanellas , Luis Callejo as General Mola ,
Luis Bermejo as Nicolás Franco , Enrique Ajenjo as José Maria Pemán , Santi Prego as General Francisco Franco who gets complete political and military powers after the Alcázar de Toledo's battle and Mireia Rey as his wife Carmen Polo .
It contains an evocative and adequate cinematography by Alex Catalán . As well as a sensitive and exciting musical score by Amenabar himself . The motion picture was well directed by Alejandro Amenábar . At his beginning Amenábar made some Short-Films , he progressed and reached his first commercial success in 1996 with "Thesis" produced by José Luis Cuerda , a film which undoubtedly showed that a major new director had arrived on the scene. Later "Abre Los Ojos" or ¨Open your eyes¨(1997) was remade in Hollywood by Cameron Crowe as Vanilla Sky (2001), starring Tom Cruise and "Los Otros" or ¨The Others¨ confirmed his arrival in the cinematographic world , in which Tom Cruise was executive producer along with Paula Wagner and this marked the last collaboration between Cruise and Nicole Kidman prior to their divorce . ¨Los Otros" enhanced his prestige in the cinematographic world and is Amenábar's first English language film and was the highest grossing Spanish film in the all-time worldwide box office history . In all his films he also writes the script and the music, as well as composing the music for other films, most notably "La Lengua de las Mariposas" (1999) or Butterflies tongue" (1999). He also directed ¨Mar Adentro¨ with the Oscarized Javier Bardem and the epic/historical ¨Agora¨ with Rachel Weisz , among others .
This film ¨Mientras dure la guerra¨ is based on facts , the actual happenings are as follows : On 12 October 1936 the celebration of Columbus Day had brought together a politically diverse crowd at the University of Salamanca, including Enrique Pla y Deniel, the Archbishop of Salamanca, and Carmen Polo Martínez-Valdés, the wife of Franco, Falangist General José Millán Astray and Unamuno himself. The evening began with an impassioned speech by the Falangist writer José María Pemán. After this, Professor Francisco Maldonado decried Catalonia and the Basque Country as "cancers on the body of the nation," adding that "Fascism, the healer of Spain, will know how to exterminate them, cutting into the live flesh, like a determined surgeon free from false sentimentalism" .From somewhere in the auditorium, someone cried out the motto "¡Viva la Muerte!" . As was his habit, Millán Astray responded with "¡España!"; the crowd replied with "¡Una!" . He repeated "¡España!"; the crowd then replied "¡Grande!" . A third time, Millán Astray shouted "¡España!"; the crowd responded "Libre!"This - Spain, one, great and free - was a common Falangist cheer and would become a francoist motto thereafter. Later, a group of uniformed Falangists entered, saluting the portrait of Franco that hung on the wall. Then Unamuno adressed the crowd : I have heard this insensitive and necrophilous oath, "¡Viva la Muerte!", and I, having spent my life writing paradoxes that have provoked the ire of those who do not understand what I have written, and being an expert in this matter, find this ridiculous paradox repellent. General Millán Astray is a cripple. There is no need for us to say this with whispered tones. He is a war cripple. So was Cervantes. But unfortunately, Spain today has too many cripples. And, if God does not help us, soon it will have very many more. It torments me to think that General Millán Astray could dictate the norms of the psychology of the masses. A cripple, who lacks the spiritual greatness of Cervantes, hopes to find relief by adding to the number of cripples around him.
Millán Astray responded: "Death to intelligence! Long live death!" provoking applause from the Falangists. Pemán, in an effort to calm the crowd, exclaimed "No! Long live intelligence! Death to the bad intellectuals!" Unamuno continued: "This is the temple of intelligence, and I am its high priest. You are profaning its sacred domain. You will win , because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince . In order to convince it is necessary to persuade, and to persuade you will need something that you lack: reason and right in the struggle. I see it is useless to ask you to think of Spain. I have spoken." Millán Astray, controlling himself, shouted "Take the lady's arm!" Unamuno took Carmen Polo by the arm and left under her protection.
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