This is the art for the gay documentary, 'Bones of Contention'

DEKKOO DISPATCH 063 – ‘BONES OF CONTENTION’

Title – ‘Bones of Contention

Director – Andrea Weiss

Release Date – 2017

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“When the pure forms sank in the cri-cri of daisies, I knew they had assassinated me. They combed the cafes, cemeteries and churches, they pried open the wine-casks and closets, destroyed three skeletons to take their gold teeth. Still, they didn’t find me.”
– “Fabula y Rueda de los Tres Amigos” by Federico Garcia Lorca

Bones of Contention‘ by Andrea Weiss is a documentary that shines a light on a dark period of Spain’s history – the persecution of LGBTQ people under the reign of Franco (1939-1975). During his time in power over 120,000 murdered people were buried in unmarked graves along the roads of Spain. Many of these people were persecuted for political reasons which included their choice to live their queer lives out in the open. Federico Garcia Lorca was one of Spain’s most famous citizens – a poet, playwright, and theatre director. He was friends with other famous Spanish artists like Salvador Dali, Emilio Aladren, and Luis Bunuel. The film focuses on LGBTQ people in general but does focus quite a bit on Federico mainly because he became the most famous missing victim of Franco’s 120,000 victims that were buried in unmarked mass graves. To this day the body has never been found.

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Known as the ‘Spanish Hitler’ Franco rose to power with support from Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and was responsible for the deaths of over 500,000 soldiers and civilians by the time he became Spain’s dictator in 1939. The aftermath of the civil war was horrible for Spain as thousands of prominent doctors, politicians, teaches, lawyers, and other professionals who had supported Spain’s Republic were forced to flee or possibly be jailed/murdered.

Because Franco’s Spain was very Catholic, sexuality wasn’t discussed in the open. Eventually though the government saw that they had to address the growing concerts of homosexuals and transvestites and so they created the ‘Law of Social Dangers’. It provided the police with a way to arrest anyone that appeared to endanger social mores in public OR in private. A funny exclusion to this rule were lesbians. The machismo ruling class saw women as so insignificant that they wouldn’t have ever thought of women as having the possibility of being homosexual. Sadly women were preoccupied with other injustices like no divorce and no birth control.

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The film does a great job of providing a myriad of subjects: scholars, gays, lesbians, ex-cons, and even a cabaret singer who was jailed for being a transvestite. They look at the past offenses to LGBTQ people under Franco’s rule, but more importantly they look to the future to map a path that will make them proud of living in Spain, a country that they all obviously have a love of.

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Watch it with: Yourself or a friend that enjoys emotional documentaries.

Mix it with: Probably water for this one.

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