THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR

THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR ON FILM

"In a civil war, the enemy is within: it is almost as though you are fighting against yourself."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


For three years from July 1936 to May 1939, the Spanish Civil War divided the Spanish republicans and the ultimately victorious fascist rebels led by General Franco. The war was a testing ground for the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini, who supported the pro-Franco troops, particularly when it came to the supply of weapons. Many massacres took place, of both soldiers and civilians. That of Guernica, a small Basque village bombed by the Nazis in April 1937, remains, probably as a result of Picasso’s inspired work, etched into people’s memories. The war had an impact on all art forms, but cinema in its various guises has probably seen the most output. The number of documentary and fictional works bearing witness to this war, be they short or feature-length films, is huge. There is greater output—naturally, dare I say—on the part of the Republicans than the Fascists. The latter’s output is not so much negligible as somewhat inaccessible. A number of pro-Republican films—be the they British, Soviet, Spanish, French, American—have told the story of this fratricidal war and even, in the case of those filmed while the war was ongoing, attempted to shift its direction. An example that immediately comes to mind is André Malraux’s "Espoir : Sierra de Teruel" d'André, one of the films we will be screening in our retrospective. Moreover, our retrospective includes a selection of ten masterpieces from a range of major filmmakers: Alain Resnais, Fernando Arrabal, Ken Loach, Carlos Saura, Victor Erice, not to mention Guillermo del Toro. With visions that are political, social, whimsical, surrealist, not to mention sentimental, all of these films offer a better insight into both the essence of this war and the multi-faceted inspiration that it brought forth.

Olivier Broche


THE FILMS


FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1943), Sam Wood - USA

DAYS OF HOPE (1945), André Malraux & Robert Hessens - France/Spain

GUERNICA (1950), Alain Resnais - France

THE WAR IS OVER (1966), Alain Resnais - France

VIVA LA MUERTE (1971), Fernando Arrabal - France/Tunisia

THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (1973), Victor Erice - Spain

THE GUERNICA TREE (1975), Fernando Arrabal - France/Italy

¡AY CARMELA! (1990), Carlos Saura - Spain/Italy

LAND AND FREEDOM (1995), Ken Loach - Royaume-Uni/Espagne/Allemagne/France/Italie

THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (2001), Guillermo del Toro - Mexico/USA/Spain

PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006), Guillermo del Toro - Mexico/USA/Spain

 

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