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PRAGDA SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL: ASIER AND I

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St. Mary’s Hall Multipurpose Room
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 7:15 PM to 10:00 PM

St. Mary’s Hall Multipurpose Room

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 – 7:15 PM to 10:00 PM

Director: Amaia Merino, Aitor Merino / 93 min / 2013

Drama Language: Spanish and Basque with English subtitles

Nationality: Spain

Cast: Asier Aranguren, Aitor Merino

ASIER AND I [Asier ETA biok] is the fifth and final film in the 2015 Pragda Film Festival.

Asier and I tells the story of the friendship between Aitor and Asier Aranguren from their time growing up together in the conflict-affected and politicized eighties of Pamplona. Eventually, Aitor moved to Madrid to pursue his dream of becoming an actor and Asier joined the terrorist group ETA. Years later, Asier was arrested and interned in a French prison, where he was detained for eight years.

When Asier was released in 2010, Aitor wanted to recover his relationship with his childhood friend and try to understand what could have led to him to join ETA, so he went to his release in France with a camera in order to tell this story.

Beyond the story of Asier, Aitor, and the Basque conflict, the film raises universal questions: can we justify blood crimes on the name of an ideal? Can friendship transcend ideology and political extremism?

Narrated with humor and cinematographic devises such as direct address, Asier and I does an excellent job at keeping the spectator engaged throughout the film. The documentary remained in Spanish theaters for an impressive four months.

Dr. Juan Uriagereka, of the Department of Linguistics, and Dr. José María Naharro, of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, will give a brief introduction before the film showing.

The 2015 Festival is presented by Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz, Director of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Dr. Laurie Frederik, Director of the Latin American Studies Center, and Dr. Eyda Merediz, Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. The Festival Coordinator is Dr. José M. Naharro, also of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

NOTES ON FILM
 
Asier and I grew up together in the troubled streets of the Basque Country during the eighties. Later in life we went our separate ways and I moved to Madrid.
 
In March 2002 Asier disappeared. He had become a member of ETA. He spent the next eight years in prison. During that time, I talked a lot about Asier with my friends in Madrid about how special the friendship was for me. But often, the conversation led to questions for which I found no answer: How could I make them understand my friendship with a member of ETA? How could I make them understand what might have led him to a decision that was hard for me to grasp?
 
When Asier was released from prison, I decided to make a film that would try to answer these questions and perhaps, at the same time, help bridge the divide. But my plan would not be as simple as I expected…
 

 

 

Learn about other films in the festival:

339 AMÍN ABEL HASBÚN. MEMORY OF A CRIME [339 Amín Abel Hasbún. Memoria de un crimen], October 13

PARADISE [Paraíso], October 20

ETERNAL AMAZON [Amazônia Eterna], October 27

THE CROW’S NEST [Malacrianza], November 3

ASIER AND I [Asier ETA biok], November 10

 

The film festival is made possible with support from the PRAGDA Spanish Film Club and Spain Arts and Culture.