The debut feature from writer-director Arturo Ruiz Serrano, The Exile harks back decades to the ethical frontline of the Spanish Civil War, a time that still resonates in the Spanish consciousness today.
A nationalist soldier, Teo (Joan Carles Sua), is transferred to a remote mountain outpost where the brutally cold climate and inhospitable surrounds reflect the demeanour of his station partner, Silverio (Eric Francés). Tensions between the pair steadily escalate in the confined quarters, and the unforgiving environment takes a toll on their states of mind. But when Silverio discovers an unconscious, young Polish insurgent, Chloe (Monika Kowalska), their already fragile relationship is stretched to breaking point.
Once Chloe is nursed back to health, the decision on whether to turn her over to their superiors or keep her hidden and jeopardise their own lives is complicated by the feelings both men have developed for her. A veritable feast for the eyes, with cinematographer Nicolás Pinzón artfully combining black and white with colour, The Exile is a tension-riddled exploration of loyalty, love and the moral decisions that confronted a swathe of Spaniards during Franco’s rule.