Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón is not afraid of big shots. He became a household name in 1998 when he issued an international warrant for the arrest of Chile’s former president Augusto Pinochet, accusing him of the murder of Spanish citizens. As a result, Pinochet was taken into custody in London and placed under house arrest. Later, when he was allowed to return to Chile, this courageous judge announced his intention to press charges against former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger for his involvement in political crimes in Latin America. Moreover, Garzón instituted proceedings against members of the Argentinean military dictatorship regarding the ‘disappearance’ of Spanish citizens. And, as if this wasn’t enough, in 2001 Garzón applied to the European Parliament for the annulment of Silvio Berlusconi’s immunity. In 2009 he opened proceedings concerning accusations of torture in Guantánamo and ordered an inquiry into the actions of former members of the Bush government.
Outside his home country, Baltasar Garzón is a much revered, highly decorated lawyer. In Spain, however, he has been suspended from office since spring 2010, having been accused of prevarication.
Isabel Coixet visited him in Madrid on 18 December last year. Their conversation lasted over six hours. When the director later showed him her ninety-minute rough cut, he had no objections to her selection of footage, and only asked shyly, “Don’t I look a bit larger than life?” Isabel Coixet’s immediate response was, “Baltasar, with everything that you’re going through, if you weren’t larger than life, I’d begin to worry!”