‘Once upon a time in Euskadi’, violence and innocence in the 80s

  • Director Manu Gómez uses his childhood memories to compose a choral portrait of Basque society in a time of terrorism and AIDS, although the most important thing ends up being the day-to-day life of the families to get ahead

Manu Gómez was 12 years old in 1985. His family had moved from Granada to Euskadi and He grew up in an environment where every Friday there were demonstrations and bank branches were burning. Neither he nor his friends were very aware of what was happening around them during those ‘lead years’, they assumed it without asking many questions. They were children who wanted to enjoy their childhood, play and have fun despite the blackness of everything around them.

From those childhood memories arises ‘Once upon a time in Euskadi’, which precisely begins with a metaphor that serves to explain very well the tone of the film: the rubber balls thrown by the riot police at the demonstrations ended up being a precious asset for the children, who collected them as trophies. Violence and innocence hand in hand. “The film arises as a vital need to return to the past, to give life to memories that marked me, me and many people, but from the perspective of children who only want to discover and discover. Perhaps for this reason, dramatic events, when seen through innocent eyes, acquire another meaning & rdquor ;, says the director.

‘Once upon a time in Euskadi’ talks about children, but also about their parents. Of all that generation of immigrants who marched to the industrial areas of northern Spain in search of a better life and to those who contemptuously called ‘maquetos’. “They represent almost all broken dreams & rdquor ;, continues the director. “That need to be able to go on vacation, to buy a VHS video or a Beta video, to believe that they are going to learn Basque by listening to the radio & mldr; in short, those little miracles that were tried to achieve when the economy was very scarce & rdquor ;. Because the economic hardship is also very present, since as the director himself admits, the real evil that families suffered was making ends meet, that was the real crisis. The director recognizes that in the film it was essential that the subject of ETA came up and also the heroin epidemic that swept away a whole generation older than his, because they were two issues that marked his day to day. “When you went to drink from a fountain, you would find it full of syringes and when you went down an alley there were three young men sticking a pickaxe. We saw him and we continued playing football, but he was very present in our daily lives & rdquor ;.

Related news

That daily life is what best defines ‘Once upon a time in Euskadi’, in which in addition to brothers who begin to carry out attacks within the terrorist gang and others who fall ill with AIDS, There are also forays into the video store to rent adult movies, admiration for Perico Delgado and first crushes. Also music, which marked the director himself. “When I was writing the script I made a playlist. The songs helped me find the soul of the characters. La Polla Records, Los Ramones, Decibelios, and Los Enemigos, whose song ‘The Countdown’ seems to define the film through its lyrics & rdquor ;.

Manu Gómez does not mind admitting that ‘Once upon a time in Euskadi’ is a nostalgic film. “Instead of denying that past, I prefer to look at it with affection, because at the end of the day it has defined me as a person & rdquor ;. Death will also be present as a shadow, absence, loss. Elements that will define the quartet of children on their learning path in that hostile world, but at the same time, in which hope beats.


Leave a Comment