For some time now, there have been several documentaries and fiction series that have captured, with an overview, the atrocious history of ETA and the terrible mark that the terrorist gang left on Spanish society, before announcing the definitive cessation of his armed activity, in October 2011. ‘Caminho Longe’Instead, it focuses on one of its former militants, Alfonso Etxegarai, and your partner Kristiane Etxaluz. In 1985, Alfonso was arrested in Baiona, deported by France and sent by the Spanish authorities to Ecuador, where he allegedly was tortured, and later to the small African island of Santo Tomé. There he spent 33 years, more than half his life.
Written and directed by Josu Martinez and Txaber Larreategi, the documentary follows in the footsteps of the couple in the last four days that the exetarra will spend on the island. After the arrest, Kristiane had to choose between continuing to live in the Basque Country or abandon everything and go live with him. “I decided to live half and spend two or three months here and two or three months there,” says who claims to have traveled an average of four times a year to the island.
It is time to disassemble a life, throw away the hundreds of clippings and memories that he has accumulated – many of them from the press, about his situation and that of the terrorist gang – and reel off the work he has carried out on the island, in the one that was first known as a revolutionary, then as a terrorist, and finally as ‘Lenicar’s’, the international trade company to which he has dedicated all these years of his life. And it is also time to review your past. «The painful decisions that we had made we failed to recognize. When we shot, we didn’t open our eyes wide, we didn’t think about their families or their children. There is no forgiveness because wars are what they are, all unforgivable, “he goes on to say.
Funded in part through the Verkami crowdfunding platform, ‘Caminho Longe’ focuses primarily on nostalgia for what is left behind, in the fears, the fear and the uncertainty that are raised when returning home after so many years away. “There are no administrative or legal impediments but we don’t really know what will happen”, confesses Kristiane. «I have communicated to few people the return. It is a legal trip but it has something clandestine or discreet because for them I will always be a historical one ”, assures Alfonso. And one can almost compare that fear with the one that the character of Antonio de la Torre had in ‘La tinchera infinita’.
Of simple invoice, a decade ago the couple told their story in the documentary ‘Sagarren Denbora’, of which part of the footage is used. Missing from ‘Caminho Longe’, however, a lot of context about its two protagonists and it contains some message – that idea of war that Alfonso refers to so frequently – that can stomach more than one. But it does faithfully portray that emptiness, that absence of handles and that ignorance of what oneself is, which an ex-military man faces when after 33 years he must rebuild his life at home.