The new film from Oscar-winning writer/director Alejandro Amenábar (‘The Sea Inside’) is a powerful and hugely resonant historical drama set during the first months of the Spanish Civil War.
While At War

Mientras Dure La Guerra
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Karra Elejalde, Eduard Fernández, Santi Prego, Patricia Lopez Arnaiz
Duration: 107 mins
Country of Origin: Spain

PGMild themes, violence and coarse language

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While At War

“A complex, steady, deeply intelligent film with a chilling resonance today, Careful and composed, it never stoops to simplification. As Spain – and Europe – deals with a renaissance of the same opportunistic neo-right-wing spectres, it’s appropriate that Amenabar paints in this painful story patiently. As he explains in a script he co-wrote, complex circumstances give rise to dictators and “draining the swamp” only allows for the emergence of monsters from the deep.”

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.

While At War