A documentary reconstructs the determine of Father Llanos, Franco's confessor who turned a employee priest | Culture | EUROtoday

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What has to occur for the son of a army man, born in a right-wing surroundings, gentrified within the Salamanca neighborhood, to affix the Communist Party? What did Franco's personal confessor and his spouse, chaplain of the Falangist Youth Front, need to have seen in 1943 to make the raised fist gesture on the historic rally? rojo 1977 within the Vallecas stadium? How does a person be a part of the aspect that killed his two brothers, one in every of them tortured? The documentary tries to reply to all this. A person with out concern, by Juan Luis de No, launched in theaters this Friday. This is the portrait of the Jesuit José María de Llanos, one of many religious fathers of the Spanish left, who went from one finish of the ideological spectrum to the opposite after getting into the suburbs of Madrid, primarily within the Pozo del Tío Raimundo, a neighborhood the place helped and inspired its inhabitants to battle for primary providers.

“See and know that in our city, overwhelmed and distressed by the tremendous shortage of rooms, there are large and even enormous apartments, completely closed by their owners who barely occupy them occasionally during the year. It is something that certainly revolts the earth. It is confirming the existence of a capital that does not fulfill its most basic function of serving the common good. “It becomes a real insult and a mockery,” Llanos wrote in the movement's newspaper. Above in 1956. A few months ago he had left his residence in the center of the capital and had moved to Pozo. There he was able to verify the conditions in which some 2,040 families lived.

The photographs that the film rescues show smiling people on a floor full of mud, on which shacks, some even made of cardboard, are built. “Those from outside knew that we were from Pozo because of the mud we had on us,” remembers within the documentary a neighbor of that unlawful settlement, one in every of many who had been constructed on the outskirts of Madrid, populated by migrants, primarily from Extremadura and Andalusia. , moved by the poverty of the primary Franco regime within the forties and fifties.

Llanos' assist ranged from stopping the Civil Guard from demolishing the homes as a part of the plan to eradicate shanty cities – “he told them that the Vatican had taken possession of the shacks” – to collaborating within the building of the primary water tank and organising the El Pozo Electric Cooperative that introduced mild. “Llanos had that drive to want to change the world that appears when you are young and you don't know how to channel it. Entering the Franco regime was a very great disappointment for him because the new Spain for all that Franco promised did not happen, more than half of Spain was being excluded, abandoning them in poverty, and that upset him inside,” comments the director. of the film, Juan Luis de No. Born in Carabanchel, the director says that his initial intention was to make a film about the cooperation between the neighborhoods of Vallecas for their development, but in the investigation the figure of the Jesuit was inevitable. “He was present in everything, like a catalyst. When I got to know his story in depth I realized that he was the most powerful character, with a brutal dramatic arc, to tell what he wanted.”

One of the families that lived in Pozo del Tío Raimundo in the fifties, in a photograph that appears in the documentary.
One of the families that lived in Pozo del Tío Raimundo in the fifties, in a photograph that appears in the documentary.

The writer of the biographical guide of Llanos Blue and purple (2013), Pedro Miguel Lamet, says in one in every of his interventions within the movie that he is aware of the precise second during which the priest's transformation happens. “One day he was on an excursion with a group of Falangists from the Youth Front and while making a camp fire he climbed up a grove and from there he saw that town, it was poor, hungry Spain; He said, 'What am I doing here?' He went to convert the neighbors and the neighbors ended up converting him.

One of his first tasks upon arriving at the Well was to build a church and the May Day school, with a Christian educational basis. But he provided training that confronted the ecclesiastical hierarchy: “he allowed himself to be influenced by liberation theology in his correspondence with fathers from Latin America,” in accordance with Luis de No.

Llanos is only one of the parts, although perhaps the most visible, that make up the mosaic of clerics who fought for the rights of neighborhood and proletarian movements during Francoism and the Transition. The May 28, 1977 edition of EL PAÍS featured on the cover a photograph of Llanos with his fist raised at the rally of the newly legalized Communist Party with the caption: “In some way, it comes to symbolize the historic commitment of certain church that passed painfully from national-Catholicism to the greeting of Marxist identification.” Llanos attended the event with another religious person, José María Díez-Alegría, one of his most important allies in El Pozo, along with the lawyer Paca Sauquillo, also raised by a military and wealthy class father, who went to offer legal protection every night. to the reprisals who arrived at the settlement.

Francisco García Salve or Diamantino García are other names of priests who identified themselves with the disadvantaged classes of the time. The first was arrested by the regime because of his union activity with the National Confederation of Labor and Workers' Commissions, while García mobilized landless day laborers from Los Corrales (Seville) and was one of the founders of the Workers' Union of the Campo (SOC), in 1976. Part of the struggle of the rebels in cassocks is reflected in another documentary, From the cross to the hammer (2018). To stop them, Franco ordered the construction in 1968 of a specific prison for priests who he considered to be opponents, the Cárcel Concordataria de Zamora.

How Llanos managed to be immune to censorship and reprisals is a topic of discussion among the film's interviewees (neighbors, comrades in the neighborhood struggle and personal friends). He attended the clandestine meetings and assemblies organized by the communists in schools. Some believe that this shield had to do with the affection that the Generalissimo would develop towards him the year in which Llanos led him, together with his wife, in the spiritual exercises. The activist who lived in El Pozo for 15 years to work alongside the priest and his gateway to Comisiones Obreras, José Luis Martín tells how Llanos once stood up the dictator. “Franco came to Pozo from El Pardo to inaugurate a school called Jesús Rubio, in front of the chapel complex where Llanos had his residence, who had gone on an excursion that day with his students to the mountains. He didn't want to receive it, it was a gesture of 'we don't want anything with you in this neighborhood'. The superiors of the Society of Jesus forced him to apologize.”

The guests in the documentary describe Llanos as “impatient”, “with a strong character” or “slightly elitist, like all Jesuits”, according to Miguel Ángel Pascual, former president of the Pozo Neighborhood Association, where he lived for 50 years. . The interviews with the friends are completed in the film with their appearances on TVE in the eighties, a brief media period. Luis de No also relies on enormous photographic material – he had access to more than 2,500 snapshots – and videos that come mostly from the archive of Tino Calabuig, one of the members of the Madrid Film Collective, young filmmakers who They took to the streets with 16 millimeter cameras to record the repression in the second half of the seventies.

An image from the film in which Father Llanos appears on the far left with the Falangist Youth.
An image from the film in which Father Llanos appears on the far left with the Falangist Youth.

The filmmaker conveys the tension and atmosphere of anxiety in a long violent era in the history of Spain. The blood traces a chronological line in the film, from the Paracuellos massacre (1936), three months after the start of the Civil War where civilians, soldiers and religious people were shot just for being right-wing, until Atocha (1977), where five labor lawyers died at the hands of a far-right group, two years after the death of Frank. A man without fear It is also a chronicle of a turbulent time of change that ended with the priest's death in 1992.

He died in a Jesuit residence in Alcalá de Henares, where he spent only a few months, before pneumonia forced him to leave El Pozo and have personalized assistance. He was laid to rest in the neighborhood parish that he helped build. Hundreds of people attended, followers, important personalities from the left such as Javier Solana and Julio Anguita, but also their religious colleagues from a more conservative wing. “At the same time they sang The International and the mysteries of the rosary,” says Lamet. It was the peak of that symbiosis between Marxism and the most primitive Christian thought.

Father Llanos in an image from 'A Man Without Fear'.
Father Llanos in an image from 'A Man Without Fear'.

Two years after his death, a monument was erected in his name in a park in the center of El Pozo, where the symbolic streets of Cooperativa Eléctrica and Vecinos de El Pozo adjoin. But the greatest tribute is that the first school he built, May Day, is still standing, along with other institutions that the José María de Llanos Foundation forged, such as the Escuela de Hospitalería del Sur and Espacio Mujer Madrid. Fragments of a legacy that remembers him not as the person responsible for the reform of the Pozo, Martín emphasizes, but as an encourager “of the neighbors in order that they might take the reins of issues.” Like the person who was not afraid.

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