Mexican Suitcase film triumphs at festivals, in media

September 18, 2011

Trisha Ziff’s new documentary Mexican Suitcase, on the photography and historical memory of the Spanish Civil War, has been selected for the New York and Los Angeles DocuWeeks, the San Sebastián Film Festival, the DocMiami International Film Festival, and as opening feature for the AFI Latin American Film Festival in Silver Spring, MD. It also garnered positive reviews in the blogosphere,  IndieWireAperture, Newsweek, and Time magazine,

Ziff weaves in personal, often painful accounts of biographies of those who had survived the war by fleeing Spain, many unable to forget even to this day. An exiled woman tenderly holds up an old, worn out fork while describing hunger she experienced as a child. Another man recalls his teenage years spent eating and sleeping beside his gun. Along with those interviews are ones with a new generation of Spaniards who were only babies when Franco finally stepped down in the early ’70s. Only now are they seeking to connect with a past that has been unknown to them. Ziff says, “I was impacted by how even today 70 years after the war how the haunting memories of repression, dictatorship impact life in contemporary Spain. How this exile still defines the identity of young people—three generations later, and what 30 years of fascism has meant for the Spanish people.”

“The discovery of 4,500 photographic negatives shot by famed war photographers Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David “Chim” Seymour during the Spanish Civil War is given respectful treatment in writer-director Trisha Ziff’s Mexican Suitcase,” Robert Koehler writes in Variety:

The thrilling frontline photography — unique in its era — serves here to illustrate the many stories of exiles — and analysis by authors and historians … The emotional content is best expressed through several achingly beautiful music selections by Michael Nyman, who also co-produced.

More here.