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Monday, 12 February 2007


Although Pamplona is slightly better know for its running bulls than its cutting edge new documentary festival, I call upon everyone who loves animals to flock to the city for the film event and thereby save the lives of those frightened beasts who are sacrificed each summer (and the odd drunken tourist whom they gore now and then). Hopefully we can make the Pamplona film run the hot ticket event.

Dana and I had a lovely sojourn during this impeccably-managed event in the old city. I was touched, and should not have been surprised as a historian, by the fact that Spanish and Basque people take to the film because they know all too well the horrible legacy of totalitarian terror in the last century in their civil war and Franco’s repression. I guess this is why the film won the Audience Award (Premio del Publico)

This town has almost no Jewish population, but in another moving moment, two middle-aged Jewish brothers come over after the show. Their father only survived the war by an irony – a volunteer for the Republican forces from France, he was incarcerated by in a Spanish prison camp, thus surviving the war. Franco did not send Jews back to the Nazis, unlike the occupied French.

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