Review: Breaches (2021)

Special Jury Prize for Direction

Courtesy of Txintxua

Maria Elorza and Koldo Almandoz’ short documentary Breaches opens with a woman’s hands cutting open a parcel with stanley knife, before we get sent to the past via archival footage showing switchboard operators in their concentrated work. Two speakers get connected, a re-enacted talk begins. In an interview given to the host Maite Artola, Ziortza Linares describes how her marriage turned into a nightmare, and what she did to reset her life. Her voice is calm and steady, contrasting painful details she is slowly revealing to the listeners. That calmness doesn’t come from the peaceful state of mind, but from the broken soul who endured great suffering.

Breaches focuses on insufficient measures to do something about the domestic abuse, such as the inefficient restraining orders and the technology possible to hack or fool (there are even tutorials on internet how to pull such stints off). The content of the box from the opening shot is a GPS tracking device, just like one Ziortza got when she took out a restraining order against her ex-husband.

There is a fine sense of ingenuity in the way Elorza and Almandoz construct their documentary which is based on an actual radio interview, with the audio recording set against the archival and found footage. The choice of the material is insightful and at times ironic, but the sharpest emotional shock is related to the actual YouTube videos deftly woven in the film narrative – those surrounding blocking of GPS devices and removing of electronic ankle tags without being detected, which are used by felons to trick the law.

Breaches brought Maria Elorza and Koldo Almandoz the Special Jury Prize for Direction at SIFF. In their statement, the jury said: “We would also like to recognize another documentary short for its deeply affecting combination of complex technique and compassionate storytelling, which uplifted a subject who has overcome great challenges rather than reduce her to simply a victim. A film that is poignant yet playful, deftly edited without ever losing sight of the emotional arc…”

Original title: Quebrantos
Year: 2021
Runtime: 7’36’’
Country: Spain
Languages: Basque, English
Directed by: Maria Elorza, Koldo Almandoz
Written by: Maria Elorza, Koldo Almandoz
Cinematography by: Maria Elorza, Koldo Almandoz
Editing by: Maria Elorza, Koldo Almandoz
Produced by: Marian Fernandez Pascal
Production company: Txintxua Films
Supported by: Eusko Jaurlaritzako kultura eta hizkuntza politica sailaren laguntzaz, Otxoa de Barandica fundazionaren lankidetzazekin