THE STORY BEHIND THE FILMING OF ‘ESPOIR, SIERRA DE TERUEL’
The republican government in Spain decided to give economic support to this cinematographic project as it would show in film theatres around the world the heroic defence of the Second Republic and the need to have more resources and help from those foreign powers that did not want the triumph of fascism.
The filming began in the summer of 1938 and stopped at the beginning of the next year after Franco’s troops entered the city of Barcelona, forcing the production team to cease filming.
The war was lost, they had not finished in time. The oeuvre was left half finished. Faced with this scenario, André Malraux and Max Aub decide to finish it in Paris despite the opposition of French authorities and without any help from the republican government in exile.
Once finished, in July 1939, the initial premise that justified the filming of ‘Espoir’ was lost, it wasn´t so urgent to show a defeated government than prevent the consequences of an imminent Second World War.
Much like what happened in Spain with Franco’s troops victory, the fierce German army occupation of France wiped out all plans of the film’s distribution and release. Despite the great efforts of the German troops to destroy the original negative and all the existing copies, one negative stored in another film’s case remained intact. Thereafter the copy was miraculously conserved at the Pathé laboratories in Paris.
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