What Remains

Lee Douglas and Jorge Moreno Andrés
2014 | 30 minutes| Spain, U.S.A.
Director in Attendance

Though official records don’t exist, experts in Spain believe that at least 118,000 people were “disappeared” during Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s totalitarian regime. Since 2000, an estimated 2,000 bodies from the era have been exhumed from hundreds of mass graves—a gruesome and brutal legacy literally buried in the nation’s soil. What Remains follows two anthropologists as they aid one family’s attempt to overcome decades of silence and piece together their own history.

Followed by The Room of Bones

Co-presented by the Consulate General of Spain in New York and the New York University Center for Media, Culture and History

Thresholds, My Perspective

"In contemporary Spain, six feet of dirt and dust separates the past from the present. In more than 2,000 mass graves located in diverse geographic locales across the country, the earth has become a literal and metaphorical boundary between intimate experiences with political violence and victims’ kin ability to publicly narrate these histories. The act of exhumation–the digging up of bones, the retrieval of archival documentation, and the recuperation of family narratives–confronts forgetting and the deep, persistent frontiers that separate personal and collective experiences with violence and the ability of victims’ kin to speak about them. Juxtaposing forensic, archival and narrative forms of exhumation, What Remains explores how the boundaries between past and present–between silence and recognition–are challenged, permeated and even erased through encounters between a survivor and a group of local researchers. As new historical narratives and personal histories are co-constructed in front of the camera, the act of reincorporating memories of the past into the present transforms into a call to recognize the causes of cultural silence."

- Lee Douglas and Jorge Moreno Andrés | Directors, What Remains