Between Lands: Is the Netflix Show Based on True Events?

‘Between Lands’ or ‘Entre Tierras’ is a Spanish-language period drama show that takes its viewers back to the 1960s in Spain. It follows María, a young woman from Andalusia in the south of Spain. To fend for her poor family, she makes the paramount decision to marry a rich landlord in a transitive manner who promises the safety and wellness of her mother and siblings. However, the wealthy man has concealed several dark secrets from her that could drastically alter María’s life for the worse.

After these revelations come to light, Maria is forced to tackle the upcoming challenges of living in an unknown new land and persevere through the struggles and consequences of her sacrifice. Considering its period setting and the adversities from that time, viewers of the show could have queries about whether it is inspired by a true story.

Between Lands is an Adaptation of a Fictional Italian Series

Driven by a story from writers and creators Susana López Rubio, Juan Beiro, and Joaquín Santamaría, ‘Between Lands’ is a fictional story that explores a time period of transformation in Spain. It is partially adapted from the 2022 Italian miniseries ‘La Sposa,’ or ‘The Bride’, and takes the liberty of rediscovering the source material via new characters, plot and setting alterations, and narrative tweaks. The show doesn’t directly delve into any cultural, political, or social incidents from the time, but seemingly resembles Spain while it was undergoing substantial reforms. It takes a different route, focusing on María’s experience through unfamiliar territory and the people she deals with in her new life similar to its Italian inspiration.

Her family struggles to survive as María is forced to be the breadwinner after the death of her father. Their financial worries reach a dire state as they must make enough to pay rent or suffer the fate of being vacated from their home. María seizes the opportunity to meet with Ramón, who is looking for a bride in her hometown. She is beyond the suitable age of marriage as per the local average yet presents herself to him with the clear intention of providing for her family. He complies with her proposition, but there’s a catch. The wedding turns out to be a proxy for his nephew Manuel.

Striving to secure a stable life for her family, María’s courage to fulfill her end of the bargain resembles the real-life struggles of those who have chosen such a path. Examples of this are scattered throughout the globe even to this day. It may not be widespread in countries like Spain in this day and age, but the economic adversities of the 60s within Iberian borders would make individuals put the survival of their loved ones over choice.

While the narrative leading up to the wedding depicts María and her family’s challenges for survival, other real-life concepts it sheds light on are transitive and proxy marriages. Some forms of matrimony can be described as transitive due to the exchange that they entail, commonly in the form of material wealth, property, or, in more advanced cases, the unity between states. These marriages may or may not be for romantic purposes. While history is spattered with numerous examples of these types of marriages that vary in each party’s proposition, María’s example of sacrifice for her family’s well-being isn’t uncommon.

Ramón’s intention is for Manuel and María to provide him with an heir to his wealth and property. He promises María to keep his end of the bargain once she gets pregnant. Settlements like these are uncommon today but have been recorded throughout history. Royal families, in particular from across the globe, have been known for partaking in such activities. Additionally, it hasn’t been uncommon for affluent families to also involve themselves in these types of settlements, which is adeptly illustrated in María’s situation.

A modern-day example of a transitive type of matrimony is a marriage for citizenship, which may include monetary benefits. In cases such as these, individuals seeking citizenship in another country may marry a person of their desired nationality. Although regulations have been heightened and the activity in itself is frowned upon, these types of marriages aren’t uncommon.

In the case of proxy marriages, it is when one or both individuals are absent from the wedding proceedings. Unbeknownst to María, Ramón shows up to marry her as a proxy for his nephew, who himself is unaware of his new wife. María, desperate to provide for her family, seals the deal and is taken away to a completely unfamiliar part of the country where she must essentially restart her life. ‘Between Lands’ constructs a narrative around the challenges of individuals such as Maria who put their family’s lives before their own. Dire situations lead to life-altering decisions that do not always provide a way back.

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