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What was the first time I heard about Franco?

Six young directors produce a piece about their own personal memories and recollections

Starting from the premise: "When was the first time you heard about Franco?” Six young directors produce a piece about their own personal memories and recollections .The sum of their views offers a plural reflection on our history. An overview of Francisco Franco's legacy and the evident or subtle survival of his figure. A look at the present to find therein the keys to the past and to connect with a world where the figure of dictators is unfortunately still in force. A film exercise against oblivion.


The piece you can see corresponds to one of the six pieces that made for the film.


This project was a personal venture of the producers Marta Andreu and Tania Batlló, two true "all-rounders" of documentary filmmaking. There is no doubt that without their strength and energy, this personal and courageous project would have never seen the light of day.

Tania and Marta persuaded me to embark on this adventure along with five other young directors. Almost all of us were first-timers, and most of us had not had a very long career in the documentary field. In my case, the approach to the character arose from unraveling certain family memories in which the dictator's shadow or his universe appeared reflected.

The purpose of the video was not to explain what we already knew about the dictator, or what the books had taught us at school, but to show our direct personal relationship with the protagonist, taking into account that we were in fact the first generation of young people born in democracy, after Franco's death.


It was a double filmic exercise to me, on one hand, of returning to the physical places where a part of my childhood and teen years took place, and on the other hand, of looking for the memories in which the dictator's figure appeared.


I was able to film and walk through the ruins of my elementary school, and I say ruins, 'cause when I returned to the playground where as a child I had played and sung: "Franco, Franco, his butt was white, he went to Paris and it turned gray!" (“Franco, Franco, tenía el culo blanco, se fue a París y se le quedo gris!”), there was hardly anything left standing. Thus, in a certain way, there seemed to be two kind of ruins, the physicals and the mentals.


Calonge Beach, located in the province of Girona, which appears in the fragment shown here, reminded me of an old walk with my grandfather, now deceased. And I did it from some home-made audio tapes of him telling a journalist about his time as prisoner in the concentration camp of Argelès Sur-Mer.

To some extent, this sequence allowed me to reconnect with my grandfather's ghost and to have a fictional conversation on that beach where we used to go for a walk at dawn in the summer.

In the final part of the piece, the sound of an old radio speech by Franco can be heard. It is the voice of the dictator, through the radio, a medium my parents and grandparents grew up with. In fact, I try to evoke the memory of the old Inter valve radio in my grandfather's house and how I have associated that sound texture with the sound and voice of the dictator. The dictator is still a memory present in my memory and that of my family, a voice that with the passing of the years is gradually fading and that like those old radio sounds seems to fade gradually, even so, I don't want to close my eyes to a dark period of our recent history.


The piece also mean for me the beginning of a professional collaboration with Alex Garcia, friend, musician and composer of the original soundtrack. With hardly any references and with little time to work as a team, he was able to create several tracks that served for the final master. Highlight the piano piece in the beach sequence, the most poetic of all, which remarks the feeling of nostalgia about the visual construction of an old personal memory.

The documentary had a simultaneous premiere on television and in several national and international cultural centers, marking the 30th anniversary of the dictator's death.

Client: Estudi Playtime; TV3, Memorial Democràtic

Directed by: Guillem López

DOP & Camera Operator: Carles Mestres

Editor: Guillem López

Post Production Coordinator: Arnau Quiles

Executive Producer: Marta Andreu

Production Manager: Tania Batlló

Head of production: Nuria Campabadal

Original Music: Alex Garcia Amat

Sound: Filipo Restrelli

Grafisms: Pedro Huertas

Language: original version in Catalan and Spanish with English subtitles

Format: DVCAM.

Year of production: 2005

Broadcasted on Canal 33 (TV3) on November 25th, 2005

Running time of the piece: 9' 46" 

More information available at:                  &                                                                                                            

Foto Guillem Taber petit_edited_edited_e
ENTRE EL DICTADOR I JO. Documental (2005) Guillem López Conejo.
ENTRE EL DICTADOR I JO. Documental (2005) Guillem López Conejo.
ENTRE EL DICTADOR I JO. Documental (2005) Guillem López Conejo.
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