“Espías en la arena” narrates events that have so far only been investigated in the history of the Spanish Civil War.
In 1942, the ambiguity of Franco’s fascist government worried General Eisenhower, who was most responsible for the Allied invasion of North Africa. The possible entry of Spain into the war with the forces of the Axis compromises the control of the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. Faced with this threat, the Allied High Command will act on different fronts: diplomatic, economic, espionage, the bribery of General Franco and a major military operation called Operation Backbone which contemplates the invasion of Spain. The espionage operations include the “Banana” and “Apricot” missions, which took place in 1943. Their task was to obtain political and military information on any troop movement in Spain (Office of Strategic Services), predecessor of the CIA. Its protagonists are a group of Spanish exiles from North Africa, mostly members of the Communist Party, recruited by the Party itself. The agents disembark clandestinely on the coast of Nerja, Malaga, to prepare the ground for the hypothetical allied invasion of Spain. Months later, abandoned, disappointed and dejected, they are betrayed and end up being captured by the political police, tortured, tried, sentenced to death and executed. The American government has decided to change its policy regarding Franco and leaves them to their fate.
It is known that international politics is not a fair game and that every state has a hidden agenda. But the use of these exiles, as pure strategic pawns, and their abandonment when they are no longer useful, makes hair stand on end.
Crossing for the first time American and Spanish documentary sources, this splendid documentary mixes real, archival footage and careful animation, to make us relive events that will become the most erratic and tragic operation of American espionage during World War II.
A work, awarded with the Memorimage Reus Audience Award 2017 and the Best Documentary Feature Award at Som Cinema Lleida 2017, among others, which has not been broadcast on any TV and is premiering in Catalonia. As always, for its presentation and subsequent discussion we will have the presence of its two directors Marta Hierro and Pablo Azorín.
Title: Espías en la arena. Objetivo España
Direction, screenplay and research: Marta Hierro and Pablo Azorín Williams.
Animation and graphics: Luis Ozonas
Music: Damián Sánchez
Executive Production: Pablo Azorín Williams and Xavier Crespo Rico.
RTVE Executive Production: Andrés Luque.
Executive Production IB3: Ignacio Tejedor. A co-production by Quindrop Produccions Audiovisuals, Dacsa Produccions, Ràdio Televisió Española RTVE and Televisió de les Illes Balears IB3, with the collaboration of Filmoteca Española and the support
Duration: 67 minutes.