The story is set in Madrid in the late 1940s early 1950s during the first years of Franco’s regime. Pedro Martín, a young ambitious doctor, is studying the effect of cancerous cells on mice, but he has run out of mice in his laboratory, since they do not breed there, and he has no funds to purchase more of these expensive laboratory animals from the United States.
Nevertheless, his assistant, Amador, informs him that he gave some of the mice to an old trapper, nicknamed “el Muecas”, who lives in precarious conditions in a shanty town outside Madrid, and that this poor man has successfully bred them with the help of the natural heat of his daughters. The incredulous scientist goes to the shanty town to obtain the mice. There, Pedro meets Muecas, Muecas’s wife Ricarda and their two daughters Florita and Conchi. With the warmth of the women’s breasts, as the flirtatious Florita shows Pedro, the mice are able to reproduce.
Pedro himself lives in a modest boarding house run by a military widow and her daughter Dora, who also has a vivacious daughter, Dorita. The owner of the boarding house tries to encourage the doctor to fall in love with his granddaughter, Dorita, so that his medical career may release them all from a life of squalor and penury. During her birthday reunion, Dorita clearly shows Pedro that she is interested in him.
Pedro and his rich friend Matias discuss literature and painting in a café and later they go out for a night of heavy partying in a house of prostitution in which Matias gets involves with a prostitute that closely resembles his own mother. Returning to his boarding house, Pedro goes to Dorita’s bed. He excuses himself for being drunk, but she welcomes his advanced and they make love, starting a relationship.
Pedro is awakened at dawn by Muecas who needs his help as a doctor and begs him to save the life of his daughter, Florita, who is severely hemorrhaging after a botched abortion. Pedro tries to do what he can to save the girl’s life, but she dies in spite of his efforts. With the horrific death of her sister, Conchi reveals that Muecas was the father of the dead child in an incestuous relationship with his own daughter.
Cartucho, a low life tough guy, boyfriend of the butchered Florita, is jealous of the doctor and after talking to Amador, extracts a false confession. Amador makes him wrongly believe that Pedro is guilty of having aborted the child and killed the mother. Later that day, Pedro is sought by the local police. Dorita warns him and Pedro hides in the local brothel run by Doña Luisa. Meanwhile, Matias begs Amador to tell the police the truth of Pedro’s innocence, but Amador refuses to cooperate.
Tiempo de Silencio (1986)
Directed by: Vicente Aranda
Starring: Imanol Arias, Victoria Abril, Charo López, Francisco Rabal, Joaquín Hinojosa, Juan Echanove, Francisco Algora, Diana Peñalver, Queta Claver, Margarita Calahorra
Screenplay by: Vicente Aranda, Luis Martín Santos
Production Design by: Josep Rosell
Cinematography by: Juan Amorós
Film Editing by: Teresa Font
Costume Design by: Gumersindo Andrés
Distributed by: Lola Films
Release Date: March 12, 1986