30 Years of Darkness

“30 Years of Darkness” is a real gem, fusing interviews, analysis and some terrific animation into an intriguing whole that plays like an intelligent thriller. “ – Variety

Nominated for the Best Documentary Award at the 2012 Goyas, this is the unbelievable story of Manuel Cortés, the ‘mole of Mijas’. When the Spanish civil war ended and the borders closed, hundreds of people were forced to go into hiding to escape Franco’s repression. They lived for decades, hidden under floorboards or in holes behind walls in their own home, knowing they could be discovered at any time.

One of the most famous of these moles was Manuel Cortés, the former mayor of Mijas, Malaga. With the help of his wife, Juliana, he spent 30 years hidden in a small hole in the wall of their house. For the first year of his captivity, Cortés couldn’t even tell his daughter he was alive. He spent months watching her play, unable to even touch her.

But this is not just a story about the Spanish civil war. It’s a story about survival and humanity. About the consequences of war and dictatorship. Beautiful animated sequences capture the drama of Manuel and Juliana’s story while archive and interviews provide historical context.


  • Year: 2012
  • Duration: 85 & 55 mins
  • Production: La Claqueta, Pizzel 3D and Irusoin
  • Director: MANUEL H. MARTIN
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA, ESP
  • Country of production: Spain



  • Festival de Málaga 2012, the Festival of San Sebastian Festival 2012, IDFA 2012, Espoo Ciné International Film Festival, Festival of Toulouse, DMZ Docs, CineHorizontes, ¡Viva! Film Festival and DocsDF 2012.

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