WHERE THE CHAMELEON GOES
This is a true story set on the Spanish Costa del Sol, just before the nineteen-sixties "package tour" holiday boom that was to lift Mediterranean Spain out of poverty. Even in the early nineteen-sixties, just before its beaches were discovered by Northern European sun bathers, Andalusia was a very deprived region, with real hunger, children going without shoes on their feet, widespread illiteracy, and a lack of employment forcing people to emigrate to Latin America or northern Europe. Starting in 1964, the film then goes back a few years to the nineteen-fifties, when, against the same background of abject poverty for the civilians, and with the Guardia Civil and sometimes the regular Spanish army trying to catch them, a force of resistance fighters hiding out in the mountains, known as the Maqui, were engaged in a guerilla war against the Franco regime. Some of them were communist infiltrators, some of them were local recruits, and it is a little-known fact that years after the civil war ended, and with Spain being officially at peace, the Maqui continued their fight, until the last of them were killed or captured in the late nineteen-fifties. During these years, with General Franco firmly in power, the local population were caught in the middle of this strife, pressured by the guerillas on the one hand to provide them with support, and by the authorities on the other to provide them with information. Up in the mountains there existed an old Inn or Venta, used by both the Guardia and the guerillas. The landlord had several daughters, including the beautiful Veronica, and it is the Venta that provides the focal point for the film, with Veronica being one of the protagonists in a romantic tragedy involving members of the Maqui.
With its steadily escalating violence, "Where the Chameleon Goes" is a story of state brutality on the one hand, and of divided loyalties, betrayal and revenge on the other; of brother pitted against brother, families torn apart, and a regime willing to go to any lengths to crush opposition; a story that the Costa del Sol's holiday makers, as well as the wider population in Spain and beyond, were to remain largely oblivious of until very recently.