Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson present the film Rocío (1980) from director Fernando Ruiz Vergara and producer and script writer Ana Vila. The documentary film examines the annual pilgrimage to the Virgin of Rocío in Huelva (Andalusia) as well as the repression of the region during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, revealing the destructive link between the fascist government and the Spanish Catholic Church.

Rocío is the sole contribution from peripheral Andalusia to the feature documentary film movement that emerged in the Spanish cinema of the Transition to feed a critical discourse and the recovery of the memory lost during the Franco regime. It was censored in 1984, six years after the transition to democracy, and the distribution and screening in Spain of the uncensored copy is still illegal.

In focusing on the history of the pilgrimage, its rituals and social context, Vergara uncovered and recorded oral testimony of the repressions suffered in Almonte (Huelva) in the aftermath of Francisco Franco’s military coup in 1936. The film shows the journey, transformation, and subsequent mutilation that the sculptures of the Virgin of Rocio along the course of the pilgrimage, to reveal a dark picture of the abuse of power in the collusion of fascist forces and the Spanish Catholic Church.

Since the 2008 financial crash, Southern Europe has entered a new era of social, political, economic and cultural crisis. Now, after 42 years of monarchic democracy and countless struggles to bring those guilty of crimes against humanity to justice, a new left is rising: from the 15M movement and the Mareas, to PODEMOS and many more political and civic organisations and coalitions in various city councils and provinces. In these times of political turmoil, potential emancipation, and countless uncovered corruption cases, the unbroken chain of Spanish fascism is once again being confronted, challenging the inherent repression imposed by the political compromises made during the first transition from dictatorship to monarchic democracy, and the consequent erasure of historic collective memory. Rocío is, in its historical context and throughout the years, a striking testimony of how people in Spain keep traumatically struggling with “the pact of silence”.

Libia Castro (ES) andÓlafur Ólafsson (IS) have worked together since 1997 within a variety of media. They focus on everyday life, socio-economic, political and cultural questions. Their work is often realized with local residents, activists, decision makers, other artists and professionals. Among their projects are Your Country Doesn’t Exist (2003–ongoing campaign), ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG (2012–ongoing) and the musical documentary Lobbyists (2009). They are working on their new project El (Im)pacto del Olvido and on a new work for the first Kosovo Biennial (2017). Past projects include representing Iceland in the 54th Venice Biennial (2011) and participating in Manifesta 7 (2008).