March 03, 2007

Salvador

Daniel and SalvadorThe other day I saw the Catalan film Salvador, set in the afterdays of Spanish Francoism.

This historical film (2006) shows us how the Catalan young man Salvador Puig Antich slowly gets involved in activism of a Catalan-nationalist, anti-Francoist brand, soon after which he gets caught by the police. The half-German, half-Catalan actor Daniel Brühl (Goodbye Lenin!) takes the role of quite normal Salvador, whom however hides one of his activities from his friends: he carries a gun with him and together with comrades robs Francoist money from the banks in order to finance a clandestine Catalan publication.

Once he gets caught by the police, his situation is pretty bad. As he shot an agent out of self-defense during his arrest, his punishment is certain: death sentence. The second half of the film works towards this slow but certain end of Salvador: death by choking. A very impressive but horrible film. In the last scene, riot police violently keeps people away from his funeral.

And but a few days later I found myself visiting myself that same cemetery, the largest of Barcelona, the cementiri de Montjuïc. A friend had passed me a map of this impressive city of the dead, with names and places of famous people buried there. Among them politician Francesc Macià, painter and sculptor Joan Miró, and also… Salvador.

We went to look for his grave. We found it all the way uphill, away from the downhill entrance. Among a flat block of graves, five high and some twenty-five graves from left to right, there it was, inconspicuous: Salvador Puig Antich.

An impressive moment: among all these people, names of unknown lives, a young man with his story: murdered by a bloody regime for an unjust cause.


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