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Somewhere on the high plains of La Mancha in Spain resides a village that carries the name of its creator, Francisco Franco. The translation for the village's name Llanos del Caudillo is The High Plains of the Caudillo. Caudillo is the equivalent to the German Fuehrer (Hitler) or the Italian Duce (Mussolini). Llanos del Caudillo was one of over 300 settlement villages built during the dictatorship of General Franco between 1939 and 1975. The ideological goal of these communities was to create the new fascist man. "Franco's Settlers" is a review of the legacy and prevalence, apparent or hidden, of Francisco Franco's figure, a glance at the past in order to find the key to the present and to understand a world where the figure of the dictator persists, even nowadays. Contrary to some other films that deal with Spanish history and which usually speak from the victim's perspective, in "Franco's Settlers" Palacios and Post succeed in delivering a more complete overall picture of the Spanish dictatorship (1936-1977). Especially remarkable are two things: First the film lets protagonists who openly admire the dictator Franco speak. These subjects in power during those years were high in the fascist hierarchy, from which they still massively benefit. Secondly the film paints a precise picture of what it meant to live under the dictatorship. It is those little stories about harassment and abuse which reveal an entire system of a corrupt society. Rightly the film has been compared to the literary work by Rafael Chirbes (The Long March, The Fall of Madrid) and the filmic examinations by Claude Lanzmann (Shoa) and Eberhard Fechner (The Trial). As those works did, "Franco's Settlers" differentiates itself favorably in aesthetic and content from current more sensation ridden and, at times, cheesy films by using a calm rhythm and cadence, which could be described as "discreetly haunting". Therefore the film becomes timeless and simultaneously highly topical.—play loud! productions
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