Nuria finds work at another publishing house run by Pedro Sanmartí, which publishes trashy propaganda novels about “civil servants who were happy and morally sound.” She makes friends with another secretary, Mercedes Prieto, who tells her that Sanmartí is a close friend of Fumero. Sanmartí is also a womanizer, and relentlessly tries to seduce Nuria. Fleeing from his advances one night, she runs into Fumero on the stairs. The policeman convinces Sanmartí to fire her.
The description of Sanmartí’s novels parodies their saccharine nature and transparent pro-government agenda. While literature is generally to be trusted in the novel, it’s clear that this isn’t always the case, especially with contemporary works vulnerable to manipulation. The general trend then seems to be that film, radio, and newspapers are untrustworthy because they are easily manipulated by corrupt governments, whereas literature is presented as addressing timeless themes and standing outside of current politics.
When Nuria gets home, upset and exhausted, Carax comforts her. He leaves the apartment all night, and in the morning Nuria hears on the radio that Sanmartí has been strangled on a public bench.
Carax’s empathetic behavior towards Nuria contrasts with his violent murder of Sanmartí, again showing that one person can contain many extremes of character.