Basque Ball, Skin Against Stone
Time Out saysSight unseen, the government of José Maria Aznar denounced this mosaic of the political and cultural conflicts shaking the Basque country as pro-terrorist, spurring a controversy that inevitably ensured the film became the highest-grossing Spanish documentary in history. As it turns out, Medem's densely packed primer is simply pro-debate. The Madrid-based Basque director of Lovers of the Arctic Circle and Sex and Lucía set out to create a 'polyphonic' film, using 100-odd interviews with activists, politicians, clergymen and victims of violent acts committed by both sides. The missing components are representatives of Aznar's administration and members of ETA, the separatist group responsible for perhaps 1,200 deaths over its 45-year history (and initially blamed for Al-Qaeda's attack on Madrid trains in March 2004). The novice will no doubt falter in keeping track of the massive cast of speakers, but Medem edits together a fascinating swirl of conversation and contradiction, and he breaks up the talk with lyrical edits of archival footage. JWin.