As civil war raged across Spain in the 1930s, photographers Robert Capa, David Seymour, and Gerda Taro – all Jews from Eastern Europe – worked from the trenches, capturing images of combat unprecedented in their scale, intimacy, and proximity to destruction.
Yet as the Nazis advanced across Europe, many of these photos were thought to have been lost. Roughly 60 years later, the negatives were found in Mexico City, lying neglected in three tattered boxes, having been smuggled out of Vichy France by a Mexican ambassador.
The story of how these images reemerged is the subject of The Mexican Suitcase. Directed by Trisha Ziff, the film uses the disappearance and subsequent discovery of these photos as a metaphor for the upheavals of the war, the manner in which Spain continues to reckon with its history today, and the ways in which art can preserve human memory, even in the face of political repression.
– R. M. Schneiderman, Newsweek