The EL LOBO

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The main purpose of this paper is to examine the history of Spain and different social problems, based on an assertion based on the film El Lobo. Methods used in this research include the identification of the film El Lobo, viewing the film in order to obtain significant information that aid in the analysis. This paper specifies that the film is based on actual incidents in the history of Spain and categorizes the film into the genre of docudrama. In the film, terrorism, dictatorship, crime, the struggle for freedom and conflicts of interest are recognized as social issues. War and technological developments like the introduction of audio-phonic film were detrimental to the Spanish film industry, but various government interventions have since brought back normalcy. The conclusion is that a major weakness of the film is the neglect of the economic side of things and the strength is on the writer’s creativity that gives us a sense of reality in such an old film.

List of Films

El Lobo
Credits: Antonio Onetti (Writing Credits)
Director: Miguel Courtois
Producer: Julio Fernandez, Melchor Miralles (Executive Producers) and Miguel Torrente (Line Producer)
Studio: Orebro
Year: 2004
Photographer: Nester Calvo
Music: Francesc Gener
Cast: Edwardo Noriega, Jose Coronado, Melanie Doutie and Silvia Abascal (most representatives)

Braveheart
Credits: Randall Wallace (Writing Credits)
Director: Mel Gibson
Producer: Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, Alan Ladd Jr (Producers), Elizabeth Robinson (Associate Producer), Deon Lopata (Associate Producer) and Stephen McEveety (Executive Producer)
Studio: Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox
Year: 1995
Photographer: John Toll
Music: James Horner
Cast: James Robinson, Sean Lawlor, Sandy Nelson, James Cosmo, Sean McGinley (most representatives)

Paper Outline

I. Introduction
A. The ETA Group
The paper goes into great detail to describe the historical perspective of the ETA group. This paper also discusses the current situation under this heading. This sets the stage for the reader to understand the subsequent sections.
B. The Second Section
1. Analysis Section
The paper prepares the reader on what to expect under the analysis section of the paper. The analysis section is divided into The Spanish History, Social Issues, Movie Genre and lastly, The Spanish Film Industry.
C. Paper Organization
This section gives a general overview of the paper in terms of how systematic information if presented.
II. Film Summary
A. Background Information
This section gives the background information to the film such as the meaning of the name and its interpretation and correlation to the film. In addition, it reminds the reader of some of the cast and the Basque environment in which the film is set.
B. Film Summary
The actual film summary is presented in this subsection. Several characters are brought into play here. The background information about ETA at the beginning of the introduction is crucial in understanding the film
III. Analysis
A. Spanish History
This section primarily relates the film to the history of Spain giving example to support the facts presented as well as to aid the reader understand better. In addition, this subsection relates this film to other films that have a somewhat similar setting in terms of historical significance.
B. Social Issues
Under this section, the paper identifies key social issues depicted in the film and gives a few illustrations to support the facts suggested. The film discusses the role of conflict of interest, the impact of violence means of achieving autonomy, the impact of leadership from both the historical and the psychosocial perspective and lastly, the correlation of the film to terrorism in contemporary world.
C. Movie Genre
This section identifies the genre of the movie to be docudrama and proceeds to illustrate why it is so. Furthermore, it identifies and illustrates literary themes such as terrorism, jealous, conflict of interest and impatience in addition to the mood of the film which is identified as tense to restless.
D. The Spanish Film Industry
This section recounts the history of the Spanish film industry paying attention to major occurrences that either impacted on it negatively of positively. For instance, the paper discusses the implication of the silent cinema era, the introduction of the audio-phonic film and the consequential setting up of the CIFESA company to address some of the challenges. Additionally, the paper talks of the measures the government put in place to revive the Spanish film industry from the major historical blows that it received and finally, proceeds to explain the correlation of these to the film in brief.
IV. Conclusion
This section summarizes and gives the implication of the ideas presented to the modern world. It also identifies and illustrates the weaknesses and strengths of the film and proceeds to explain some of the lessons the film offers to the modern society. In conclusion, this subsection looks at emerging trends in film production and explains how these impact modern film industries.

Introduction

El Lobo is a Spanish based film about the struggle of the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) group to sustain autonomy. ETA was a paramilitary group formed in the year 1959 with the prime purpose of fighting for self-governance, or what can be termed as independence, among the Basque people, North of Spain. Albeit the group did have some influence on the Southern part of France, the ETA was mainly formed as a response to oppression that was felt from dictator Franco, who went so far as to prohibit even the use of the Basque native language. The European Union, United States, United Kingdom as well as Spain have listed the movement as a terrorist group with about 400 prisoners serving their sentences in different parts of Europe and the United States.
The ETA movement takes responsibility for about 829 deaths and many more injuries since 1968 through bombings, kidnapping, assassinations and mob murders. History records that the group was mostly formed as a way to ensure that the Basque culture survived amidst great oppression from Franco’s dictatorship, but the group evolved into paramilitary group and started engaging in violent attacks that eventually caused it to be enlisted as a terrorist group. This paper first summarizes the film El Lobo giving key events that take place in the film and relating them to other films as well as the actual history, where possible.
The second section is that of the analysis which is divided into sections, namely Spanish History, Social Issues Movie Genre and lastly The Spanish Film Industry, each of which analyses different aspects of the film. The film Braveheart, 1995 which is written by Randall Wallace and directed by Mel Gibson is additionally used to relate the ideas in the El Lobo film and serves to strengthen as well as help the reader contextualize the ideas presented. This film offers the best basis for comparison since the films contains a character with identical aims.
Still within the analysis section, additional issues arise from the film so that the researcher has to introduce a whole spectrum of historically supported views which are systematically presented. Under the Spanish History subtopic, the paper goes to great depth in history so as to analyse a series of events, one leading to the other. There are countless other events and perspectives under the Spanish history that are beyond the scope of this paper and so this research attempts to focus on the areas of history that are linked to the film. However, this is not to say that the views expressed in this paper are solely within the limits of the film. In fact, the section under the subtopic The Spanish Film Industry is an extension of the section The Spanish History, as many issues that are under the Spanish history but under the subtopic of the Film Industry are discussed in great detail. Ultimately, this sets stage for the reader to understand the historical perspective of the film.
Within the Social Issues category, the paper seeks to identify core social issues that characterized the film. The role of conflict of interest among major security entities of the then Spanish government brings out a few other social issues that are discussed under the Social Issues subtopic. The same social issue takes responsibility for conflict between the Franco’s military and the Spanish Secret Service. As many issues regarding the role of ‘The Wolf’ become politicized, the security officials start to lose it and there is chaos when each party goes after the ETA militants on their own. The wider relevance of the theme of terrorism going up to the 21st century is also explored in detail, presenting the historical, philosophical and the political perspectives in an attempt to engage the reader and help them understand. To do this, the paper compares the history of the ETA and modern radicalized groups, a section which identifies striking similarities among the two as well as exposing major failures of modern leadership and governance in dealing with terrorism. This section then concludes by recommending possible solutions to these problems and showing how this is related to the film.
Within the Movie Genre section, this paper seeks to examine the literary aspects of the film. Here, the genre of the film is identified to be docudrama. In addition, the paper identifies the mood of the film as well major and minor themes. Several examples from the film support ideas suggested though the paper doesn’t go into great detail as to analyse literary themes. In a nutshell, the paper is organized into sections. The abstract summarizes key details of the paper while introduction helps the reader know what to expect. The first section is that where the movie is summarized and the second section is where the movie is analyzed and further linked to modern issues and then finally, recommendations for each section. The conclusion gives the weaknesses and strengths of the film and gives some general recommendations. All this is carefully supported by presentation of examples from the film and additionally external references from quality academic sources.

Film Summary

The El Lobo Film

El Lobo is a Spanish word which can be translated “The Wolf” hence the movie is often called The Wolf. The film is based on events that actually took place in the 70s during the reign on Franco, recorded in history books as a dictator. The movie that was released in 2004 highlights many themes ranging from terrorism, violence, revolutionary ethics and numerous issues within political science as well. The story is written by Antonio Onetti and directed by Miguel Courtois. Members of the cast are, in order of their credits, José Coronado as Ricardo, Eduardo Noriega as José 'Txema' Loigorry (El Lobo), Silvia Abascal as Begoña, Mélanie Doutey as Amaia, Santiago Ramos as Pantxo, Jorge Sanz as Asier, Patrick Bruel as Nelson and Manuel Sarzo as Matías, just to mention a few. The film is set within the Basque Country, an area that geographically lays North of Spain where the autonomous Basque community occupies. The area is divided into Biscay, Alava and Gipuzkoa provinces.
As aforementioned, the film is based on a true story during the final years of Franco’s dictatorial rule when Mikel Lejarza infiltrated the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) during the 70s in attempt to curb terror attacks by the ETA as an effort of the Basque community to sustain the autonomous state from the greater Spain. The character Txema is opposed to the violent tactics deployed by the ETA in their fight for autonomy yet due to his sympathy, so to say, towards members of the ETA, allows members of the group to spend a night at his house one day when they arrive during a mission. The ETA was plotting to kill an alleged collaborator of the ‘national government’ against the Basque. Afraid the target might lose their life, Txema covertly tries to inform the ETA target but he is caught and arrested by the police and the target killed.
Beaten in the course of interrogation, the police realize that Txema is in fact not a supporter of ETA movement and so the secret service decides to change tact and use him as a mole to infiltrate the ETA and provide compromising information that ultimately would lead to the ETA’s downfall. Txema yields and accepts the idea. Initially, Txema falls in love with a female member of the ETA, Amaia and Txema is for a while engrossed in the political beliefs and ambitions of Amaia who is typically represents the revolutionary belief and practice of the autonomous Basque community. Soon Txema is promoted to a commando during a difficult period for ETA and he regularly is in charge of finding safe houses for the ETA members due to the constant attacks from national (Franco’s) government and also for purposes of raids and murder missions.
At the time, politics soon cloud the secret service and many seek credit for the imminent ETA downfall as a result of the information being received though Txema is unaware. Txema also has to take sides because a significant number of people within ETA want to quit the opposition and negotiate peace terms with the incoming government because it becomes evident that Franco’s reign is approaching an end. As a result, insurmountable conflict of interest arises at the secret service as many want to take credit for having nailed the ETA. While a few people seem to care about the welfare of Txema, many at the secret service do not care the least and believe he is just a tool to achieve the social good and the word “disposable” appears at some point. The loyal ETA members ultimately murder Carrero Blanco, the Spanish Prime Minister and the military plans to carry out mass attacks on the ETA. The head of the secret service is able to convince the military to wait until “The Wolf” finalizes his duty as a covert agent though the military further their pursuit against the ETA leaders nonetheless especially following the news that the Madrid police had caught the ETA leader. This decision practically forces the secret service to lose control of Lobo as the military launch attacks against the ETA and the Lobo is caught amidst the “clean-up” exercise.

Analysis

The film El Lobo is a typical film highlighting several aspects of the major social issues within the Spanish culture as well as highlighting specific aspects of the history of the Spanish people that are still relevant in today’s highly socially complex world. Besides, the movie writer manages to bring out an identical copy of what took place many years ago in such a creative way, picking important details for the film. This section discusses the film genre and the industry in addition to both the history and the social issues the film presents paying attention to the Spanish environment that the movie is set.

Spanish History

The film El Lobo is a re-enactment of the history of Spain in the 70s and the movie if based on a true story. While it is difficult to create the conditions as they were exactly in the actual times that the events took place, the writer and the producer do a good job in re-creating the scenes even with the new characters. Txema’s role in the film, for instance, indisputably takes after that of Mikel Lejarza and the roles he played for the Spanish Intelligence Service (SIS) for two years, 1973 to 1975. Furthermore, the film highlights scenes of the attempts to maintain ETA through violence, assassination of a dictator’s intended successor, Carrero Blanco and terrorists planning a coup against Franco’s rule. All these are historical events that, together mark key stages of the Franco’s rule, an important part of history that has had a huge impact on the economic and political history of Spain. This film is strikingly similar to Braveheart film of 1995. In Braveheart, the starring Mel Gibson takes the role of William Wallace known in the history of Scotland as having the led the Scots against King Edward I of England in their fight for independence.

Social Issues

Substantial evidence from the movie shows prevalence of conflict of interest amongst the characters. To begin with, the movie itself is based on the desire of the Basque community to maintain self-governance state. Due to the existence of superior governance within the same territory headed by Franco, the Basque community is obliged to fight for their independence, so to say. Secondly, the head of the secret service convinces the military officials not to attack the ETA as they wait for the Lobo to complete his mission. This very situation is as a result of conflict of interest of some sort because each party is made to forego a part of their plans so as to accommodate the other’s self-interest which eventually does not go down so well. It is arguable, however, that the decision by the head of the secret service to convince the military to wait until Lobo finishes his mission was motivated by none of his own selfish interests but in saving the Lobo but we know better now. Other social issues include democracy (sought by the ETA), violence in form of murder and attacks by the ETA members and also dictatorship as exhibited by Franco.
The history of the ETA group as portrayed in the El Lobo film also reflects certain aspects of the modern day state within the context of social welfare. Studies by Rinehard suggest that the group was initially formed to advocate and possibly fight for the cultural sustenance of the Basque community. It is likely that due to the pressure the Basque people felt from Franco’s dictatorial rule forced them to further the group’s agenda thus forcing it to become a violent terrorist group. Likewise, examining modern radicalized groups leads one to the understanding that the original idea behind the formation of most terrorist groups was in fact not what they have become today. Al-Qaeda for instance, was formed primarily to provide logistical support for those Muslims that were in the war against the Soviet Union during the Afghan war. Even after the war was over, Al-Qaeda leaders were not comfortable in how western powers meddled with their social, religious and political affairs and thus furthered their opposition against the western influences within the Islam territory.
The consequence of that simple historical failure by the leaders of the time to dialogue and reach decisions accounts for today’s massive radicalization of the youth worldwide by terrorist groups. As part of their strategy to build their strength against the United States, the Al-Qaeda united with the Islamic Group and the Jihad declaring ‘holy war’ against the US, a decision that saw many suicidal bombings in the US, Yemen, Tanzania and Kenya at different times. The group has since given rise to even newer radicalized groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While there’s no consensus among world leaders on how to mitigate against acts of terrorism, there is still no clear demarcation between terrorism itself and insurgency and that causes a problem because some social groups made of merely activists are often times mistaken for insurgents.
It is sad to realize that the fight against terrorism by most super powers have so far ended up being acts in support of imperialism especially in the conquests for Arab oil. The US have aided in overthrowing Iran presidents twice, in Syria once, in Turkey once, in Libya once and other countries within the oil rich region have not been spared in some specific ways, yet terrorism has survived it all. The film El Lobo is again here to remind leaders that it is not easy to just ‘drain the swamp’ by deploying a few political philosophies that are bundled together with self-interests. Drone attacks against innocent citizens and mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) recently flagged by Edward Snowden have proved ineffective by far, to say the least. Importantly, the film puts forward the idea that perhaps by the use of a collaborative approach by world leaders, where everybody puts their self-interest second and the security first; it is possible that the fight against terrorism could be a success.

Movie Genre

The movie falls under the docudrama genre because the film dramatizes sections of actual historic events and focuses on certain facts as known in history. Txema represents Mikel Lejarza who is recorded in history having played the mole infiltrating ETA leadership. Several literary themes arise from the film for instance the theme of terrorism. In fact, modern data shows that the ETA is responsible for nearly 900 deaths since 1970 and the group is since categorized as a terrorist group by the United Kingdom, United States, Spain and the European Union. Minor themes such as jealous, impatience and conflict of interest are also dominant in the film, jealous that the Madrid police had caught the ETA leader motivates the military into action despite having been advised by the head of secret service to halt operations due to the presence of the Lobo within the ETA. Moods revolves between jealous to tense, restless moods as a results of the political instability that seems to prevail the whole time however much some social groups attempt to conceal.

The Spanish Film Industry

The little international recognition of the Spanish cinema at the beginning of the 20th century which was made worse by the technological advancements in film industry within the same century. Chief among these dominant features was the silent cinema. Silent cinema, as the name suggests, was a type of film that had no synchronized sound and no dialogue. The silent cinema era lasted for about forty years, 1890 to 1930. Surprisingly though, is the fact that during the silent film era, Spain increasingly placed focus on their own cultural tastes during film making because they hoped that they would ultimately create some sort of international impact. This, they did despite the fact that many historians report that Spanish film had no international impact, per se. By 1930s, the silent cinema in Spain was at its climax but it wasn’t so long until audio-phonic film was introduced into the country.
Perhaps the film El Lobo was produced during at the height of the use audio-phonic film. The reality that film technology was fast changing hit the Spanish at a time when they most unprepared. The introduction of the sound film mid 1930s was a huge blow to the Spanish film industry. As a mitigation strategy for this, Manuel Casanova set up the Compañía Industrial Film Española (CIFESA) in 1932 as he wanted to help Spanish film makers introduce sound into their film therefore acting as sort of transition aid. Not only did CIFESA success in introducing sound in film but also ended up the largest film producer of its time in Spain. Other challenges that faced the Spanish film industry were the civil war. During the civil war, the government deliberately leveraged on the introduction of sound in film as a way to carry out censorships and also propaganda in specific way they determined could help them control the population. As a result, many historians today still argue that the advancements in the Spanish film were not in fact detrimental to a section of the Spanish people as they were somewhat used as an instrument of the right wing.
As a result of these historic occurrences, the Spanish government responded by setting up various funds as deemed necessary in the improvement of the already hurting Spanish film market. Most of these funds were placed under the major national broadcasters who were then to distribute them to various producers within the film industry. Ultimately, through continuous enactment of supportive policy framework and financial support in terms of financing, the film industry was on its feet gradually making its way into the global film market. Through the release of movies such as El Lobo, the Spanish film industry continuous to flourish and gain even greater global market. A year after the release of the film El Lobo, 10 characters had been nominated for international awards and 2 of them had won other merit based awards. In addition, the movie attracted about 16 distributors, many of whom have gained access to international markets hence the wide recognition of the Spanish film industry.

Conclusion

Generally, El Lobo is a great film about the history of Spain. Moreover, the film seems to suggest to the viewers that in some way authoritarian leadership systems are mostly motivated by extremist acts such as terrorism in order for them to further their political agendas. The importance of violence and the use of revolutionary ethics is put into question. As the writer advances the film, it seems that more and more of the economic side of the story is left and one would wonder, for instance, how would such a violent and influential group as ETA not have a financial agenda that even history does not record the financial side of the movement? This is one weakness of the film. An in-depth analysis of history, however, establishes that ETA’s major source of financing was through illegal activity such as robbery and trafficking of arms for exchange, acts that would eventually contribute to them being listed among terrorist groups.
On the other hand, the strength of the film lies in the way the film writer is able to describe scenes in detail. His imaginations allow the viewers direct access to conversations that took place over half a century ago; one would think that that is the actual history recorded. All have been neatly organized and one action systematically leads to another until the end of the film which is exactly the way history records it. In the end, Txema luckily survives the military attack, goes for a plastic surgery to change his looks and is never seen again. Albeit there are numerous explanations why the protagonist ends up disappearing, the one that is still most convincing is that fact that ETA members eventually realizes that Txema is an undercover agent for the Spanish Intelligence Service (SIS), they are incensed having been fooled all along and therefore plots to kill him. The death of Dictator Franco marks the end of the film.
Clearly, the El Lobo film has many lessons to offer for the modern day society. Needless to mention how important it is that the film touches on issues that are still relevant in today’s highly inter-dependent social systems. The limited range with which the film portrays historical incidences is a weakness of the film and perhaps the unavailability of other films that reflect the historical happenings before and after the periods that El Lobo focuses on, prevents viewers from appreciating a few more lessons that would be complementary to those in El Lobo. Moreover, the recent shift to the use of 3-dimensional movie technologies and improved graphics could be adopted during the reproduction process to ensure they remain technologically relevant and up to date. The history of the Spanish film industry also offers promising lessons for many world economies especially those of the developing nations. Lastly, the very fact that ETA was formed to address socially valid claims for autonomy yet ends up being a listed as a terrorist group teaches the viewers on the importance of adhering to legal expectations.

Bibliography

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Cowan, Edward. 2012. The Wallace Book. Edinburg: Birlinn.
English, Richard. 2016. Does Terrorism Work? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pavlović, Tatjana, Inmaculada Alvarez, Rosana Blanco-Cano, Anitra Grisales, Alejandra Osorio, and Alejandra Sánchez. 2009. 100 Years of Spanish Cinema. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Rinehart, Christine Sixta. 2013. Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism: The Radicalization of Change. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Spencer, Shae. 2014. "The Cinema of Spain: An Overview." Cinesthesia (Grand Valley State University Press) 3 (2): 1-7.
Treglown, Jeremy. 2014. Franco's Crypt: Spanish Culture and Memory Since 1936. New York: Random House.
Vedder, Stefan. 2010. Spain and the Basque Country - A Case Study. San Francisco: GRIN Verlag.
White, Jonathan R. 2016. Terrorism and Homeland Security. Boston: Cengage Learning.

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