LOS CABOS – Rafael Lara, director of a rare Mexican war movie, “5 de Mayo: La Batalla,” has set his next movie: “The Red Days,” the little-known tale of a Holocaust hero, Gilberto Bosques, Mexico’s Schindler, who saved the lives of 40,000 Spaniards and 5,000 Jews.
Set between 1939 and 1945, and inspired by a true story, “The Red Days” narrates Bosques’ actions from the point of view of victims of the Spanish Civil War, teen Alberto and his family who flee across the border into France, where they are imprisoned in a concentration camp on the beach.
As they are befriended by a Jewish family, the Rossembergs, Bosques, Gilberto Bosques, Mexico’s consul in Paris and then Marseilles, sets out to follow the instructions of the government of Mexico to save as many Republican Spaniards as possible, shipping them to Mexico.
But he goes far beyond the call of duty, relocating the Mexican Embassy in two castles, which come to house thousands of Spaniards, and forging visas for not just Spaniards, which claimed Mexican parentage, but also Jews. He also arranges for big ships to offer passage to Mexico. Some 2,000 Jews took up that offer, and 30,000 Spaniards.
“The Red Days” tells the story of the exile of Spaniards and Jews in Mexico. Mexico’s current intellectual, scientific and upper middle-classes, in economic terms, derive in a 70%-80% from this exile,” Lara said.
Lara’s great-grandfather was indeed a Republican army general, imprisoned in a concentration camp in France, who was saved by Bosques.
Budgeted at $12.3 million – huge by Mexican standards – and involving characters from Spain, Mexico, France, Germany and the U.S., “The Red Days” would be structured as a totally international co-production with an international cast and “at least 60%” spoken in English, Lara added, calling “Red Days” “’Schindler’s List’ meets ‘The Pianist.’” “In ‘The Pianist,’ a character battles just to survive a war.’”