Netflix documentary about terrorist outrages victims

Netflix documentary about terrorist outrages victims
(symbolic photo)
Image: AFP

After the Austrian director Ulrich Seidl caused an uproar at the festival in the northern Spanish coastal city last year with his pedophilia film “Sparta”, this year it is the Netflix documentary “No me llame Ternera” (“Don’t call me Ternera”) .

It is an interview with the long-time ETA leader Josu Urrutikoetxea, alias Ternera (“The Calf”), who is currently in prison in France. For a long time he was the political head of the terrorist organization ETA, which killed over 800 people in the fight for an independent Basque country. In 2019 he was caught in France. He is due to be extradited to Spain by January to be tried for the murder of eleven people.

Letter to festival management

Over 500 personalities and victims have now written an open letter to the festival management to remove the documentary from the program. Their argument: “This documentary is part of ETA’s whitewashing process.” It is a “justifying and trivializing story that puts murderers and accomplices, victims and resistance fighters on the same level,” says the letter. The festival gives a convicted murderer and terrorist a platform to whitewash the terrorist gang.

In addition to well-known journalists and ETA victims, the signatories of the letter also include cultural figures such as the Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater and the Basque writer Fernando Aramburu, who is also known in Austria for his ETA novel “Patria” (“Fatherland”). The documentary will have its world premiere in San Sebastian next Friday at the start of the festival. Festival director José Luis Rebordinos refused to follow the open letter of protest.

“For me, ETA is a fascist and murderous gang. If I thought the film glosses over ETA, of course I wouldn’t show it,” Rebordinos clarified in an official response. However, he also could not understand how the signatories could say that the film glorified ETA without even having seen it.

Something similar happened last year with Ulrich Seidl’s festival contribution. Neither the content of “Sparta” was known nor was there any clarification on the allegations about the circumstances of the filming. Ultimately, the Austrian film director stayed away from the European premiere of “Sparta” in San Sebastian. Indirectly, however, the polemic was also the best advertising for the film. After the festival, the ETA documentary is likely to become one of the most watched films on Netflix, especially in Spain.

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