Alberto Rodríguez’s 2014 film La isla mínima/ Marshland is a compelling portrait of the Spanish Transition to democracy that also reflects on our present moment of crisis. Like many of their generation in the years following the 2008 financial crash, Rodríguez (b. 1971) and his collaborators on the film sought to peer behind the image of a clean and seamless Transition, intuiting that the roots of the present crisis could be found in the conflicts of that era. This article traces how the film builds a layered architecture through the use of three outside sources: Atin Aya’s photographs of underdevelopment in the Guadalquivir marshlands, Hector Garrido’s aerial photographs of natural landscapes in the same area, and the Después de… documentaries, filmed by Cecilia and José Juan Bartolomé during the turbulent years of 1979 and 1980. Woven together in the film, the three visual intertexts configure a layered archaeology of the recent past that not only superimposes different spatial and temporal frames but also intertwines social–political processes with emotional, natural and even spiritual dimensions.