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New Film: La mujer del anarquista

By Chuck Morse | August 25, 2008

Film fans and anyone interested in the history of anarchism during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) will want to check out La Mujer del Anarquista (Trans: The Anarchist’s Wife), a new movie by Marie Noelle and Peter Sehr. Although it has yet to be released in Europe or the United States, it has already earned one award (the Bernhard Wicki Peace Price) and will likely win others.

The story begins in 1937 in Madrid, at a time when the city was besieged by fascists and in the throes of war and revolution. Justo, the anarchist, is a radio propagandist who does battle on the airwaves and in the trenches, while his wife Manuela and their daughter Paloma desperately try to preserve a semblance of domestic normality in the midst of the tumult. However, what little stability they acquire is soon robbed from them when Justo is seized and disappears. His separation from the family, it turns out, will last for years, as Europe descends into the chaos of World War Two. Throughout it all, Manuela never stops fighting to reunite her family, which, one day, she manages to do.

Anarchist viewers will probably be annoyed by the sexist implications of the story and the title–why is it that he has politics and she is just the wife?–and disappointed by the fact that Justo’s anarchist activities are really only a backdrop for the story of this particular family. However, perhaps the movie’s exploration of love, loss, and redemption will resonate with some, despite these political issues.

The following video clips will give you a feel for the film and anyone interested learning more about anarchism in the Spanish Civil War should check out AK’s large selection of books on the topic. We highly recommend Martha Ackelsberg’s Free Women Of Spain: Anarchism And The Struggle For The Emancipation Of Women; Murray Bookchin’s The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936; and, for another film, Libertarias.

Here is the trailer (in Spanish, but with English subtitles):

This a short video about the film and the award it won (in English):

Here is a Spanish-language interview with Marie Noelle, one of the directors:

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