María Soliña lives in Cangas, a fishing village in the south of Galicia. There she was dedicated to sea related work and lived with her husband Pedro Barba, a fisherman. She owned certain possessions which were a privilege ,one of these possessions was the “right to presentation”. At an advanced age she loses her husband and her brother Antón Soliño in the attack of the privateers which Cangas suffered at the beginning of the 17th century. A few years later she is accused of practicing witchcraft and is judged by the tribunal of the Inquisition of Santiago de Compostela. She was not condemned to be burnt on the stake but was forced to wear the “sambenito” during six months and all her possessions were confiscated. Today the historians agree that there were many economic motivations behind many trials in those times. After the condemnation we loose track of María Soliña and so don’t know the time or place of her death. Her story becomes part of the legendary stories of Galicia and was studied by many artists and historians converting her into the new Joan of Arc.
One of the main characters of the feature film is the historian. The script is structured through an interview of this character who provides information which enriches the chronicle. Thanks to this figure the tension between legend and history is clearly reflected.
Alonso de Salazar y Frias was one of the tree inquisitorial judges in charge of judging the witch cult of zuggaramurdi. This process took place in Logroño and became one of the most famous trials in all the history of the Spanish Inquisition due to the number of condemned and also due to the basis of the accusation which considered as truthful all the occult phenomenon which derived from black magic. Salazar y Frias years after the process dedicated his time in travelling all around the area of Navarra with the intention of demonstrating that the accusations weren’t based on reasonable proof. His investigation became part of a memorial which will have an influence on the inquisitorial laws introducing rationalism thinking which will appear years later in other countries of Europe.
The tribunal of the Inquisition of Santiago de Compostela is the last branch of the Spanish inquisition to be set within the kingdom governed by the crown of Castilla. Galicia was considered as a territory which highly needed the control of the inquisition due to the influence of Judaism, Protestantism and above all due to the existence of pagan practices and cults.
The tribunal of the inquisition is formed by three inquisitorial judges played by the actors SUSO CORTEGOSO, ÁNGEL REGUEIRO AND MIGUEL LLANDERAS, a scribe – MANUEL POMBAL - ,and an inquisitorial prosecutor – ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ.
The Inquisitorial house was situated, during the first few years of the inquisition beside the benedictine monastery of San Martiño Pinario in Santiago de Compostela ,apart from the courtrooms there were also prison cells where the prisoners waited to be condemned. In this house also lived the judges, the workers and the jailers, one of which was played by MANUEL NOVOA.
Within the accused of forming part of the witch cult of Zugarramurdi were people of all different backgrounds, ages and sexes Salazar and Frías made clear in his reports about the process that there was a complete lack of rationality of many of the condemned and also that their declarations were purely fantasy and craziness.