The growing power and influence of new streaming services like Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime is obvious. If we add to that the ability of film to turn fictional stories, even ones based on real events, into key elements to “understand” historical events, it’s not hard to understand the importance attached to the “tale ” that guides and permeates these films.
In the last few months, we’ve had to watch as personal, partial, and biased visions of what happened in the dark years of terrorism in our country has become a worldwide hit, meaning that a good part of the global viewing public now has a rather one-sided view of the “truth” of what happened here.
We Basques have little control over the tale told about us to explain our history. This is due to several reasons, which run the gamut from our not having our own State able to set its own discourse to the difficulties of competing with more powerful film industries in Spain and France that end up always telling the sides of their respective nations-state.
That’s why, after the great concern this caused many Basques, international hits like The Baztan Trilogy on Netflix have brought us such joy. Having an author such as Dolores Redondo, who was able to take a highly interesting story and impregnate it with the culture of our country, is a huge gift. We’ve spoken about the series of books before: three works of fiction that show off the Basques as a unique and separate reality and focus on a female detective with the Navarrese Police Force, speaking Basque as a living language and working in the Basque Pyrenees steeped in the mythological traditions and stories of our culture.
Will we ever be able to make the most of these resources to explain what our country really is?
What this all brings us to is what we wanted to share today: a review in Forbes (which does enjoy talking about us) published in July by Sheena Scott, where she analyzes the trilogy at the debut of its third and final part.
Forbes – 25/7/2020 – USA
‘Offering To The Storm’: Basque Folklore And Chilling Murder Mysteries On Netflix
Based on Dolores Redondo’s bestselling novels, the last chapter of the Spanish thriller The Invisible Guardian (El guardián invisible) trilogy was just released on Netflix. Offering to the Storm concludes this dark crime fiction film trilogy, with seemingly unending torrential rain and a hint of the supernatural.
Dolores Redondo received one of the annual Sabino Arana Foundation prizes in January 2018. We believe the speech she gave after receiving the award deserves to be reproduced here, because it explains, far better than we can, what is hidden behind her text. (See the Spanish entry for the original.)
There are two kinds of awards: the first you compete for, you have to present your work; it’s the one you want because it means success and triumph. Winning it changes your life, lets you taste victory and feel that you are the champion. There is another kind of award, this one, that comes unexpectedly, an award borne of the generosity and care of the foundation, and comes from all those who have bestowed me with this honor. The kind of prize that makes me feel humble and small, and to realize, while I move forward, day after day, voluntarily shut away in my solitary task, when I have begun to miss the warmth of my last encounter with my readers, that someone was thinking of me.
Just ten days ago, January 15, marked the sixth anniversary of the publication of “The Invisible Guardian”, the novel that kicked off the Baztán Trilogy, and the one that, despite my many attempts before that, finally broke me into the publishing world. Six years, four novels, and another one waiting half-finished on my desk, three movies filmed and another one in the making, a few literary awards…
And it’s curious how the same space of time, those six years, sometimes feels like a long time, and other times very little. When I look back, it seems like another life, those years before “The Invisible Guardian” was published, were years of great effort as I tried to make my way in the publishing world. Frustrated publications, rejection letters… the perpetual feeling of being invisible that led me to use this word in the novel’s title. The Invisible Guardian, which has now been made into a movie, and translated into forty languages all over the world, from Japan, to the US, to Iceland, and Australia, was also rejected by many publishing houses.
Most of them never even read it: I know, because I still meet editors crying in the halls who have no qualms confessing it. But there was one which was interested in publishing it but under the condition that some changes be made. “I like how you write,” I was told, “the novel is really good, but there are some things that aren’t going to work: a town of three thousand that has a serial killer, the words in Basque, and Basque-Navarrese mythology.” “With those ingredients, I predict success locally, but no further afield.”
Six years later, many writers mix crime and mythology, to my delight, but someone had to do it first, and at the time it wasn’t a choice because it seemed like it’d be something that would work: it was a promise to myself.
In each of my novels, the choice of setting comes from deep within, from my roots and my culture, from what I am, and from the land that will cover me when I die. From the kind of family I was born into and raised by, from the women I respect and admire, from the men I love. From a territory so rich it transcends, and ceases to be a simple setting through which characters walk through to become something alive, and powerful. The strength of its legends, of its deepest-rooted beliefs, of its rich and distinctive culture, and of honesty, because I might surprise you one day with the territories chosen for my novels, but I assure you that in each one there is commitment and truth, because the only thing that makes fiction believable is the honesty with oneself while writing.
Therefore, I am going to dedicate this award to the greatest earnings my books have provided me these past few years, which has unquestionably been to get to meet you, the friends of Baztán. I dedicate this award to Inés Larruy, whose family is still making ‘urrakin egiña’ chocolate in the traditional Baztán style, to Juanjo Leiza de Bertan Baztan, to Marijose of the Urruska House, to Juan Mari Ondikol and to Beatriz Ruiz de Larrínaga, whose pure labor of love has been guiding thousands of readers down the routes of my novels in Elizondo for the past six years, and with much love to Miriam, who recently left us, and who now resides in heaven over Elizondo, and laughs at us when it rains. I dedicate it to the Baztán, for being the home of Amaia Salazar and for being my home. And ot Bilbao, because there are cities, territories, and settings where one can come up with the stories, fictions, and dreams, and others where they come true.