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Land and Freedom [VHS]

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Hart, Rosana Pastor, Iciar Bollain, Tom Gilroy, Marc Martínez
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Writers: Jim Allen
  • Producers: Gerardo Herrero, Marta Esteban, Rebecca O'Brien, Sally Hibbin, Ulrich Felsberg
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Catalan, English, Spanish
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: USA
  • VHS Release Date: April 20, 1999
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630417067X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,015 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
For most progressive-minded folks, the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was the first salvo in the global struggle that eventually crushed facism and nazism. Yet, there was a dark side to the "good fight." Stalin cynically twisted and manipulated the "Popular Front" movement to suit his personal megalomania. He used Soviet military/financial aid to the Spanish Republic and the organizational might of the Comintern (Communist International) as the means of securing power for his lackeys in the Spanish Communist Party and, thereby, extend his sphere of influence. This power play resulted in the brutal repression and murder of many dedicated anti-facists on the Left who opposed Stalinism with equal fervor.
"Land & Freedom" beautifully tells the story of an English communist worker, who like hundreds of other young men and women from around the world, goes to Spain to fight for his principles. Yet, his experiences there teaches him a bitter lesson in political reality: those seeking absolute power, regardless of what they call themselves, are the real enemies of freedom.
This film was clearly inspired by "Homage To Catalonia," George Orwell's chronicle of his own experiences in the Spanish Civil War. Like Orwell, the film's hero joins the militia of the POUM(Spain's anti-Stalinist Marxist-Leninist party)and comes to witness first-hand the betrayal of the anti-facist struggle by the Stalinist forces.
All in all, this is a well-researched and well-written story offered up with superb acting amd directing. It was especially poignant for me as I had the privilege of knowing folks who served in the militias of the CNT-FAI, the Spanish anarchist-syndicalist labor movement. This film brought to mind their sacrifice and heroism in the face of overwhelming odds.
"Land & Freedom" is a film everyone should see.
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Format: VHS Tape
"Land & Freedom" is the first commericial film I've seen that doesn't offer the standard one-dimensional portrayal of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) as simply the prelude to World War II. Nor does it flinch from taking a hard look at the way that the Stalinist Communist Party undermined, betrayed and brutually suppressed their leftist political rivals in the Anti-Facist movement to secure absolute power. Here we get a glimpse of the bitter social struggle that sparked the war. Here we see, in beautifully understated dramatic realism, the humanity, selfless idealism and touching naivete of the thousands of young people from around the world that rushed to Spain to fight facism.
While the film's story is well-researched, written and presented, I think it loses viewers who are not familiar with the complex historical background of the Spanish Civil War nor the intricate ideological maze of the diverse political movements and points of view represented. "Land & Freedom" (which, by the way, was one of the slogans of the Spanish anarchist movement, the CNT-FAI, and not the Trotskyite POUM which the film's hero joins) tries to offer a comprehensive overview of the aforementioned. Unfortunately, it often comes across as a jumble of arcane acronyms and arguments.
One key point: the formation of the democratic peasant and workers collectives portrayed in the film actually took place under the auspices of the anarchist CNT-FAI (which, at the time, was the largest and most influential labor movement in Spain)and not the POUM. The Marxist POUM, while allied to the CNT-FAI, actually opposed this effort as detrimental to the creation a united anti-facist front.
This aside, "Land & Freedom" is great film. I highly recommended it.
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Format: VHS Tape
In 1936 Franco and three other fascist generals, aided by Hitler and Mussolini, attempted a military coup against the democratically elected Spanish republican government. A broad political spectrum of anti-fascist groups opposed Franco. Opposition ranged from republicans, such as Ortega y Gassett, to anarchists, trades unionists, socialists, and communists. Because the army itself had revolted, people banded together to form militias to defend the freedom of their nation. The great Western "Democracies" refused to aid in this battle�they feared that power of the people. Starved for support, the republican forces received their only official aid from Mexico and the USSR. All over the world, however, idealists who believed in democracy and in the ability of people to work together for a better world, made their way to Spain to fight against International Fascism.
Land and Freedom follows the story of Dave Hart, a working-class British Communist, who leaves his girlfriend to help stop fascism. Hart does not get assigned to the International Brigade (a Stalinist Communist militia), and ends up in a militia of foreign volunteers, loosely affiliated with the POUM, a non-Stalinist Marxist group. They fight alongside anarchists and anybody else who will oppose Franco. The unit votes on matters, officers are accorded no special privileges�-the traditional hierarchical structures are absent.
In this millieu, Dave writes home about the struggle, the frustration of being poorly armed, about comradery. We watch him falling in love with Blanca, one of the other soldiers. After he is wounded, he encounters the Stalinist brigades he had hoped to join. The movie begins to tell the story of how the democratic forces of the Spanish Republic were undermined and destroyed by the Stalinist elements.
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