Thursday 10th of June film night: THE ANARCHIST’S WIFE

(La Mujer del anarquista)

Spanish with English Subtitles

Directed by: Marie Noelle & Peter Sehr

2quids suggested donation.

“No pasaran! – They shall not pass!” was the legendary battle cry the Republican defenders of Madrid hurled at the fascist aggressors. In the winter of 1937, a young woman, Manuela, hastens through the streets of the besieged city, with her little daughter Paloma. Her husband, the lawyer Justo Alvarez Calderón (28), battles Franco at two front-lines at once: On the radio, where he has become the “Voice of the Revolution”, and in the trenches close to Madrid. He demonstrates that when it comes to freedom heroes know how to add credibility to their words gun in hand. Love, belief in justice, and the healing powers of family bonds are the structure of this true story.

His wife and children are Justo’s most precious possessions. For them, the man, whose name is no coincidence, risks his life every day. He wants to give them a life in dignity. A life, he only deems possible in a climate of political freedom where each and everyone is allowed to make his choices unimpeded. While he is away on a mission in the North of Spain, already cut off from the capital by fascist troops, an air strike from the “Condor Legion” destroys the family home. Manuela and her children seek shelter in the rooms of Justo’s office, already partly occupied by the homeless family of Justo’s secretary.
Once more, Justo succeeds in defying the enemy’s antiaircraft to come and see his loved ones. Manuela does not know it but it will be their last reunion for many years to come. War unveils its face in all of its tragedy and Justo’s trace is lost in the wake of the retreating Republican Army. For almost ten years, Manuela will now remain in the dark whether her husband is alive or dead.

Terror and denunciation are the means by which the victors stabilize their power. Francisco, Justo’s estranged brother, works for them. Yet, he also does his utmost to help Manuela whom he has always secretly admired and envied his brother for.

Fate deals Manuela another cruel blow: Rafael, her son, dies at the tender age of four. World War II is not only destroying all of Europe but it has also vanquished her hope of ever finding Justo again in France. Her love for Justo and her unique ability to draw strength from her imagination help her endure the years of despair, social descent, and isolation.

But just as she appears to hit rock bottom, this low point reveals itself as a turning point. At the end of World War II, a picture of Mauthausen prisoners a French newspaper puts her on Justo’s track. They meet again in a small provincial town in France. Their reunion is a happy one; however, the years of separation have also alienated them.

Scarred by his experiences in the war and in the concentration camp, Justo has returned to his fight for democracy. He actively and clandestinely supports the libertarian groups in Franco’s Spain. Gradually, Manuela and Justo succeed in rebuilding their family. The love, confidence, and unbroken faith in the ultimate victory of justice they share, fills the rift between them before the day of liberty finally dawns for Spain.

From 1937 to 1960
In the Spanish Civil War, Spanish democrats, royalists, communists and anarchists form an uneasy truce against fascism. Franco’s victory strengthens Hitler’s and Mussolini’s position, both of which have supported his cause politically and militarily. The history of the 20th century would have been a different one, had the Republican Army been able to defeat Franco’s troops. It was an unstable period in world history that transformed society and eventually gave rise to the Europe of today.

The Factory
2-8 Cave Street,
St Pauls,

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