• Int'l Festival of Political Cinema

  • Encuentro Audiovisual Imágenes con Memoria

    Audience Award
  • Against Silence Film Festival

  • The Millenium Film Festival

  • IMPACTE Film Festival

  • SARAQUSTA Film Festival

  • History Film Festival Rijeka

  • Ierapetra Int'l Doc Festival

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Spanish with English subtitles

An investigative documentary, These Walls was inspired by the director’s chance discovery of a poem written on the ruins of a building during his childhood.

From this lonely moorland in the Sierra de Madrid, we discover one of the darkest episodes in Spain’s history. During the Franco regime, Penalty Redemption through Labour was a legal device that allowed public and private companies to use republican prisoners as forced labor.

The documentary follows Pascual as he delves into archives and libraries, listens to children of reprisal victims, and meets with childhood friends with whom he had played in those ruins, unaware of their origin and meaning.

Throughout the research process, archival material, and interviews with experts who have studied the Penalty-Redemption system from their various disciplines, Pascual exposes how this device was used in virtually all economic sectors throughout the country.


“I highly recommend These Walls for a course on documentary for its style - and for courses on History, Politics, and Criminal Justice for its substance. The film could be used as part of a larger discussion about modern day examples of penalty redemption through labor where private and public companies utilize the labor of citizens either to change their ideological beliefs, or for profit.” – Jennifer Dean, EMRO

“The Spanish Civil War raged for three brutal years from 1936 to 1939. The American ambassador at the time saw this conflict as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Second World War. Though the conflict was relatively short, Francisco Franco’s fascist regime was not, and its long-lasting scars still stain the land.” – J. Zimmerman, Video Librarian

About the Director
Alberto Pascual has been a director and producer since 1985. He created the production company Grupo Máster Producciones, and has participated in multiple projects related to training, advertising, fiction, and documentaries; always seeking the dissemination of stories that promote transforming values.

He was the executive producer of the documentary film The Code: Economic and Financial Crimes Against Humanity (2018), which has participated in multiple festivals and film series on ecology and sustainability.

His latest film, These Walls (2022), is a documentary research work on one of the darkest episodes of Franco’s history: the redemption of sentences for work.

Notes on Film

“Today’s society has great deficiencies in the knowledge of our recent history. Triumphant narratives define coexistence, while other narratives remain in the shadows, distorting the mirror in which we look at ourselves. Silence and oblivion still survive today. Does distorted memory interfere with who we are? Above all, These Walls is a place for virtual memory, a tribute to the more than 2,000 prisoners who passed through the Soto del Real Penal Detachment, formerly known as Chozas de la Sierra, which are likewise part of the more than 6,000 who endured the works of the train line.”

– Alberto Pascual, Director