The Basque Ball: Skin Against Stone

Director: Julio Medem
Screenwriters: Julio Medem

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


The Basque Ball: Skin Against Stone is the kind of smart and discursive, politically driven cinema that is rare. One of Spain's leading filmmakers, Julio Medem, its director, is known for his complex and sometimes daring narratives. But in this political essay on the Basque nationalist movement, he has taken chances that go far beyond transgressions against fictional form or sexual mores. Its screening at the San Sebastian Film Festival in the heart of Basque country generated huge controversy and criticism, especially from both the ETA (the Basque terrorist group) and the Spanish government. And despite its dense analysis of the history and cultural issues that make the situation difficult for outsiders to grasp fully, The Basque Ball is a film that can be appreciated by anyone interested in world and national struggles.

Featuring some 70 interviews with figures ranging from Basque political leaders to academics and writers, from victims of the political violence to outside activists in international peace movements and conflict resolution, this film is not your typical comprehensive study, for it unquestionably has a point of view and focuses a purposeful eye toward a political solution. Above all, it is a film of resounding clarity and intelligence, a stimulating study of Basque nationalism and possible pathways to nonviolent resolution.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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