The Rock

(La roca)
Raúl Santos | Documentary

2011 | 70 minutes | Spain

Despite being declared enemies by their countries, people in the Rock of Gibraltar and La Linea depended on each other, got married, and lived with their bilingual children. But Franco’s decision to close entrance to the British territory forced the separation of thousands of mixed families.


In 1969, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, closed the entrance to the British territory of Gibraltar, isolating 30,000 people without food, water, or telephone lines. In his words, “The Rock will fall like ripe fruit.”

The Rock (La Roca) is an epic Romeo & Juliet-type love story between the massive Rock of Gibraltar and its neighboring Spanish city of La Línea. Despite being declared enemies by their countries, the people of both cities depended on each other, got married, and lived happily with their bilingual children. They used to be inseparable.

Eventually, indoctrination on both sides and Franco’s sudden decision forced the separation of thousands of mixed families. Over 13 years, families met at the border every Sunday to look through binoculars at their estranged lovers, brothers, parents, and babies – screaming, “Daddy loves you” from a distance.

How could this happen? What is the story behind this tragedy?

Franco is now dead but the pain caused by the closing of the gates scarred the population for life. Gibraltar and La Línea have never gone back to their initial love and the area still seethes with tension.


"La Roca examines the relationship between the British territory of Gibraltar and the nearby Spanish community of La Linea...A sad, thought-provoking film, this is recommended." — M. Puffer-Rothenberg, Video Librarian

"This film has gone beyond all expectations of the audience and critics... an excellent cinematographic piece... a load of conflicting emotions that lead to laughter, sadness and yearning." — Juan José González, Europa Sur

"Thrilling, very thrilling... if there is anything we can learn from this documentary it's that the people should not pay for the mistakes of their rulers. Our children should watch this." — Carmen González, Cadena Ser

"The lucky viewers of La Roca enjoyed filmmaking in bold letters thanks to this magnificent documentary..." — Miguel Olid, ABC

"I fell in love with Pepa, the old lady who serves as the backbone of this choral story about forced uprootedness. Although real and human, she looks like a character of good magical realism." — Juan Carlos Soriano, Documentos RNE

Main credits

Santos, Raúl (film director)

Other credits

Cinematographer, Carlos García de Dios; editor, Raúl Santos; music, Miguel Torres.

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Seville European Film Festival - Golden Giraldillo for Best European Documentary
Atlántida Film Festival - Special Mention from the Jury
Saratov Sufferings International Film Festival Russia - Special Audience Award
Andalusian Cinema Awards; Brooklyn Film Festival
Festival de Cine Español de Málaga

DIRECTOR: Raúl Santos


YEAR: 2011

GENRE: Documentary


COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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