The first Spanish-language production in nearly 17 years from Oscar-winning writer/director Alejandro Amenábar (The Sea Inside, The Others, Agora), WHILE AT WAR is a powerful and hugely resonant historical drama set in the first months of the Spanish Civil War, depicting how the country inexorably slid into nearly four decades of fascism under dictator Francisco Franco.
It’s July, 1936. Nationalist forces take to the streets of Salamanca, challenging the authority of the democratically elected Second Spanish Republic, and arresting the city’s mayor for the crime of being Republican. However, the esteemed Miguel de Unamuno (Karra Elejalde) author, professor, and rector, pays the uprising little mind: for all his wisdom and experience, this great man of letters doesn’t believe that his country is under imminent threat.
Initially defying his friends and family by publicly supporting the rebellion, it’s not until his colleagues are rounded up that Miguel begins to reconsider his principles, hoping he can exert his considerable influence to bring reason before it’s too late…
Nominated for 17 Spanish Academy (Goya) Awards in 2020, including Best Picture, Director and Actor, Amenábar’s deeply intelligent and spectacularly mounted drama depicts a nation split between those compelled by egalitarianism, and others driven by reactionary visions of how to make Spain ‘great again’. WHILE AT WAR sounds a powerful alarm about the complexity of patriotism, the perils of neutrality and how compassion and dialogue are too-often fragile virtues.