This article unpacks the cultural work that Juan Carlos Medina’s Insensibles, released in English as Painless, carries out in relation to Spain’s modern history and argues that the film’s painless children are an allegory of the country’s postdictatorship generations. The rendering of fascism as monstrous is less interesting than the connection of insensitivity to the Pacto del Olvido (Pact of Forgetting) and its suppression of painful memory. The fact that the children speak Catalan is a significant overlooked aspect, because Catalonia was the last region to succumb to Nationalist military forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and is known for its independentist fervor. A regionalist reading of the film does not simply connect the present and the past; it proposes that the children of the war mediate Spain’s current troubled relationship with historical trauma and act as an artistic response to centralist ideas of a unified and stable nation-state. Such a rethinking demonstrates that the horror genre continues to offer a language of anxiety capable of negotiating and contributing to debates around the importance of national accountability, war reparations, and the condemnation of genocide.​

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