Land and Freedom Reviews
"Land and Freedom" is Ken Loach and Jim Allen's tribute to the ordinary volunteers that risked their lives for a better world in the fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. A war that was obviously complicated and quite confusing in terms of many different opinions and how they fight should be handled and what should be the result of it. It´s understandable that the Spanish rather not talk about this horrifying Civil War, but at the same time this cannot be forgotten. The direction is strong from Ken Loach, the acting truly convincing and the emotional layers are a plenty. Various languages: Spanish, English and Catalan are spoken throughout the film, and subtitles are used selectively which is a great decision in my point of view. The version I saw had no subtitles at all, but the added value of the spoken Spanish and Catalan is of my liking and due to the fact that the acting is of so high standard you still get the point of the conversations. The tale of battle for what you believe in, betrayal and lost hope is the foundation and you get an insight of the atrocities of this war against facism in "Land And Freedom". Ian Hart and the lovely Rosana Pastor are great in their roles, but then again it´s hard to just point out those two as everyone infront of the camera does a great job as said.
I think it really shows the division between leftist groups during the war and the division in general Thier is some action and battle scenes but nothing to exciting it's really more of an intellectual film one that makes you think
The acting was pretty good and a nice story
Note: Thier is a scene in which the socialists and fascist throw insults at each other some is in spanish some English if you know the language very comical
Overall good film
That said Loach has created a rare beast of a war film one with plenty of political brains and human heart behind it.
Ian Hart plays David Carr a card carrying communist who joins the POUM during the civil war and see's first hand how the struggle is taking its toll not only on the people but on the seperate groups fighting Franco's facists.
Carr gets to see how the POUM are badly armed but determined to fight for their cause no matter what the human cost ,he also gets to see how the REAL communists despise the POUM and how that in fighting cripples the ideals of his comardes in arms.
Only Ken Loach would have the nerve to stop the battles scenes an stage a 10 minute debate between the POUM and the peasants regarding the ownership of the land in a village they have liberated.
This debate and the course the film takes afterwards give it a real edge and snap that kept this reviewer totally engaged.
A vital history lesson then from a vital director.
In tackling the Spanish Civil War any writer is faced with the overwhelming complexities that underlie the events. The regionalism (think only of the Catalan and Basque regions, let alone Galicia and Andalusia), the monarchy, the Catholic Church, landowners, trade unions, anarchists plus the leaderships of the Nationalist and Republican movements all combined to create a very tangled web. Add to that outside involvement, principally from Mussolini and Stalin, the vacillation of Britain and France and, of course, the omnipresence of Hitler, and anyone might wonder where to start.
Loach and Allen take their approach through the eyes of an unemployed Liverpudlian, David Carr (admirably played by Ian Hart) who, as a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, answers the call to fight for the Republic. We follow his exploits through a number of episodes, involving battles, falling in love, injury and, ultimately, a degree of disillusion as the reality of Stalin's views eventually come to dominate, and eventually destroy, his cause. The film is supremely well-made, highlighting the horrors, the camaraderie, and the political divisions. In particular, the debate amongst the militia about collectivisation after they have taken a small town takes no sides, but simply allows a number of valid arguments to be exposed within the context of the shifting sands of the war.
There is still ample material for the industry to go on to make more films on this important period in history. But Loach has set the benchmark.
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The story develops through flashbacks, and it recounts of a David Carr, a British unemployed member of the Communist Party from Liverpool, who decides to go and fight the cause of the anti-franquist movement in the Spanish Civil War. The narration takes place through some letters Carr wrote, newspaper clippings, and other documents he collected, found and read by his granddaughter, right after his death. The film rides the wave of the leftoid socio-political movement of the 90?s, as already mentioned in this blog, with regards to La Haine and, similarly to the French film, this socio-political situation contributes greatly to its success, especially amongst certain circles.
Other themes present in the film are the anti-Clericalism, revealed with the summary execution of the priest culpable of exposing the militians to the Franquist; rudimentary feminism, given the fact that in the POUM, men and women fight together; and finally, the socialist matrix also appears, especially in the village assembly scene, where the peasants vote for the collectivization of the land. This scene is arguably one of the best of the entire movie; Loach?s pursue of realism reaches its apex here. The camera loses its perspective, and plunges the viewer right into the live situation, and the dialogues are apt and poignant, also considering that most of the actors participating to this scene were non-professionals.
Was moving and gutting what happened...Was one of his best!
fucking stalinists..lets make do, lets fucking do! I feel the pix axe shadows hanging over...