The Endless Trench

Nov 6, 2020

A European movie with American sensibilities--autocrats and lockdowns, Franco and  Covid.

The Endless Trench

Grade: A

Director: Altor Arregi, Jon Garano, Jose Mari Goenaga

Screenplay: Goenaga, Luiso Berdelo

Cast: Antonio de laTorre, Belen Cuesta

Runtime: 2h 27

Rating: R

By: John DeSando

“Let fascism find not even a single passage to power or else that poisonous snake will infiltrate into every vital corner of the country and kill the future of the nation!” Mehmet Murat ildan

So, you feel imprisoned by the virus? Well, you have been, as have we all yet never with the choking space of Anne Frank, and never as torturous as The Endless Trench’s Higinio (Antonio de la Torre), who spends 30 years cooped up in a false wall of his Spanish home fearing death by Franco’s fascist loyalists.

The trio of directors Altor Arregi, Jon Garano, and Jose Mari Goenaga apparently did not trip over each other with their variegated lenses and positions to perfectly capture for insid out the imprisonment and sheltered point of view of the exiled Higinio. In over two hours, the film allows a sense of movement outside to infiltrate inside the hideaway.

Something is always happening in this 1936 through 1969 Spain, be it the imminence of being discovered to the birth of a baby, and the endless arguments with his wife, Rosa (Belen Cuesta), about how he should trust the new liberty of the allies and leave hiding. The energy of the film comes from the energy of revolt, be it against fascism or thoughts of safety in prison.

The Endless Trench masterfully glides between dreams of liberation and the warmth of enclosure. Additional allegory crops up with the apparent parallel to all lives that feel enclosed by a mate who prefers to stay home avoiding the dangers of being public and the challenges of intimacy that liberation demands. Introverted spouses should pay attention.

Although our pandemic lockdown fosters a claustrophobic atmosphere, nothing could compare with the lockdown between Rosa and her husband, a closed world of lost youth and abandoned hope. The allies may have liberated, but a man who stays in his prison after liberation is a man who has given up on his family and his nation.

The Endless Trench is a classy little film whose multiple levels of meaning and contemporary parallels should satisfy the most discerning moviegoer. Netflix

“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States.” Henry A. Wallace

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at