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The Endless Trench

The Endless Trench is a Spanish historical drama with elements of psychological thriller, released in 2019. Directed by Jon Garaño and starring Antonio de la Torre and Belén Cuesta, the film focuses on married couple Higinio and Rosa, beginning at the outset of the Spanish Civil War and ending thirty years later in 1969. Higinio, fearing capture and execution by Falangists, hides in a nook under a step and oil jars in the kitchen. His love for Rosa keeps him there, as a bitter, probing neighbor peeks in windows and listens for voices. Even after the civil war and WWII, Higinio seldom leaves this trench, and never his home till he's moved to another house, another trench. Rosa wants a baby, and Higinio flatly rejects the idea for obvious reasons, yet nature takes its course and a son is born, leading to a fresh set of lies they must tell the community and their child.

Not the best film to watch while coronavirus COVID-19 is out there stalking and many of us are confined to our homes at the behest of governments and employers. But it's compelling in how it shows a man struggling with deep-seated fear. As you'd expect, it feels claustrophobic, with close-ups and extreme close-ups of anxiety-drawn faces and terrified eyes peeping through cracks and holes. The actors were "aged" convincingly over the course of the narrative, and acted well. It's got its share of surprises too, which pop up to sting after sedate stretches, reminiscent of plot lines in early Ian McEwan novels. I give it three out of four stars and recommend no pausing for breaks if you want to fully absorb the mood and neurosis.


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