When Australian filmmaker David Bradbury arrived in Nicaragua in 1983 the 'secret war' of the CIA backed Contras was in full swing. The CIA's aim? To overthrow the leftist Sandinista government. Bradbury spent six months in Nicaragua and captured on film the human face of a popular but troubled revolution under attack.
In 1978 the revolutionary Sandinista movement came to government after 43 years of organised resistance and the death of 50,000 Nicaraguans. For years Nicaraguans had suffered under the brutal dictatorship of General Somoza. NO PASARAN describes this period of Nicaraguan history simply, and explains the extraordinary events which led to the formation and eventual coming to power of the Sandinistas.
Through the central and charismatic figure of Sandinista leader Tomas Borge, Bradbury examines the past, present and future of this small Central American nation whose methods of survival and commitment to making a revolution for the poor challenged the full US military might. Through their embrace of liberation theology, the Sandinistas who included priests in their collective leadership, dared to stand up to the power of the Catholic Church hierarchy.
No-one can forget the moment in NO PASARAN when Pope John Paul II is shouted down by a huge crowd of Catholic worshippers when he refused to give a prayer for the mothers of 17 Sandinista student soldiers ambushed and killed by the Contra while in their sleeping bags days before his visit.
Bradbury visits the young soldiers in the mountains protecting the country from invasion and lets them speak of their commitment to teach old people and peasants how to read and write and get a simple roof over their heads.
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