TrustMovies is very glad that Richard Peña, the FSLC's about-to-retire head of program-ming, introduced the film FROZEN SILENCE (Silencio en la nieve) at its single Spanish Cinema Now screening last Friday night, for he gave the audience a quick and very helpful understan-ding of what the Franco-inspired Blue Division of World War II was all about. Made up of both conscripts and volunteers (the latter of whom often had relatives imprisoned by Franco, so they hoped their service might help arrange a release), this Blue Division fought along side of the Nazis against the Russians on the eastern front of the war.
Gerardo Herrero (shown at left), with an adaptation from Nicolás Saad of the novel by Ignacio del Valle, the movie is an impressive feat production-wise, set as it is in a snowy semi-fortress where the German and Spanish soldiers sit in the midst of the local Russians they have semi-conquered. Betrayal, or at least the threat of it, is everywhere in this movie, giving the film a queasy, uneasy quality almost from first frame to last.
Night of the Generals is one of the earlier that I recall) and they are often of more than average interest because of their onion-like appeal: one layer of mystery inside another layer of military. Frozen Silence goes them one better by placing its story inside a military situation rife with several extra layers of unrest and suspicion. There is even a game of "roulette" that figures prominently in the plot -- and no, it is not the Casino Royale type but rather that of The Deer Hunter.
Juan Diego Botto and Carmelo Gómez, both seen from time to time in this yearly series, could easily come from the same genetic pool, and certain other actors, during their prime scene or at their revelatory moment, may have you exclaiming, "Oh, it's him! -- followed by an immediate, "Wait a minute: Who is he exactly?" Everyone appearing constantly in military uniform (except of course, when they semi-strip for a love scene) doesn't do a lot for differentiation, either.