The Time in Between (El tiempo entre costuras in the original Spanish) is a sweeping drama from Spain. Sira Quiroga (Adriana Ugarte) begins her life as a dressmaker in Madrid just before the Spanish Civil War. She becomes part of history as circumstances compel her into spying for the British during WW II. Some minor spoilers ahead.
Sira learned her skills as a seamstress from her mother (Elvira Mínguez). She’s engaged to a nice, respectable public servant when she meets Ramiro (Rubén Cortada).
Ramiro sweeps Sira off her feet. The man is beyond sexy and Sira is not immune. She dumps her financé.
When her previously unknown father (Carlos Olalla) meets her for the first time, he gives her money and jewelry.
What followed was such a cliché that I almost gave up on the series in the first episode. I’m glad I didn’t. Once she got past her youthful mistakes, Sira became a strong and admirable character. Ramiro takes Sira to Morocco. He spends all her money and deserts her. She’s left pregnant with huge debts.
To escape the debts in Tangiers, Sira boards a bus. She doesn’t care where she’s going. She miscarries the baby while on the bus and almost dies from blood loss. When she comes out of it she’s in Tétouan, which is a Moroccan port city in what was then the Spanish protectorate. It’s near the Strait of Gibraltar.
That’s a lot of information about how and where she ended up, but everything in the remainder of the story hinged on getting Sira to Tétouan in 1936. Both Germans and Brits were swarming around Tétouan hoping to gain some advantage over the view of the Strait of Gibraltar before the coming war in Europe.
Sira’s story moves through the period when the Spanish Civil War is ending and the beginnings of World War II are just around the corner.
Sira befriends Rosalinda Fox (Hannah New), an actual historical British spy. Rosalinda was the mistress of a Spanish officer named Beigbeder (Tristán Ulloa), another real historical character. The friendship between Sira and Rosalinda is one of the best parts of the series.
Rosalinda impresses on Sira that she is trying to keep Spain out of the coming war in Europe and wants Sira’s help to do it. Sira agrees to become an espionage agent for the British.
Many twists and turns in Sira’s life as a spy form the remainder of the story and lead to an exciting, action-packed finale.
Gorgeous to Watch
Watching The Time in Between is a gorgeous experience. Sira’s strength and intelligence take her where she’s going, but Adriana Ugarte is a beautiful woman, an important aspect of Sira’s success. Adriana Ugarte’s an accomplished actress who imbues Sira’s travails through her story with every possible emotion. Adriana Ugarte quite rightfully won numerous Best Actress awards for her work in this series.
The photography and direction emphasize the beauty and exotic charm all around Sira. They also emphasize how Sira’s own glamour and beauty helped her reach her goals. Her power over men (and possibly women) was lovingly explored.
The high fashion garments that Sira wears and creates for her clients are lovely to see. The settings in Madrid, Lisbon, Tangiers and Tétouan are rich and lush. Locations in Morocco especially are beautifully chosen. The details of life in the late 1930s and early 1940s are authentically captured.
The piano theme music and the orchestral score for the series were well done, but I must comment on the jazz clubs. Many scenes in the series took place in clubs with swinging jazz bands. Each of the bands earned a long look from the camera.
The band I most loved seeing was in Rosalinda’s nightclub in Portugal. It was an all woman band, something so bold for the 1940s I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing. All the more reason for Sira to love Rosalinda’s taste and sensibility.
The Time in Between is an enormous saga. There are 17 episodes in the series. The series is based on the novel by María Dueñas. María Dueñas also wrote much of the screenplay adapting the story. The pacing is slow and rich with detail about Sira’s life and business. The passing years and the larger historical events influencing the world at the time were introduced in almost stately fashion.
Sira was such a strong character that merely being involved in her life and relationships was compelling. I never felt a need for the story to hurry or for the focus to move away from Sira and onto historical events.
Sira was a woman alone who survived great hardships and challenges, fascinating in every way. I loved her courage, her intelligence, her loyalty, and her determination.
Watch the Trailer for The Time in Between
The Time in Between is available on Netflix. Amazon has the DVDs but only in Spanish with no subtitles. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it.