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The Atlantic Selects

A Dictator's Disembodied Head as Art

Feb 20, 2015 | 831 videos
Video by RAVA Films

This quirky documentary tells the story of Eugenio Merino, a Spanish artist who sparked outrage in his home country after creating a hyper-realistic sculpture of Francisco Franco. Franco, an ally of Hitler and Mussolini, was the dictator of Spain from 1939 until he died in 1975; during that period, his regime executed a countless number of political opponents. 

"For me, the way of representing him with a touch of humor, was to cryogenically freeze him," Merino says. "Between all of us, we have refrigerated that image, it's still here. So that's what the piece expresses."

Rafael Salazar and Ava Wiland, the filmmakers who made the documentary, approach Merino's work with a satirical eye, well matched with the artist's sensibilities. "I want people to enjoy what they see, though the message may be contradictory," he says. "One may laugh at things that perhaps you shouldn't laugh at. But that's what I like. To create that struggle."

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Author: Chris Heller

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.