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The Tree of Guernica (1975)
"L'arbre de Guernica" (original title)

 -  Drama | War  -  21 May 1976 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 250 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 6 critic

The Spanish Civil War, as experienced by the town of Villa Ramiro. The local count and his Fascist nephews ally with the rebels; the count's son, indifferent to politics at the outset, ... See full summary »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vandale
Ron Faber ...
Goya
Cosimo Cinieri ...
Rafael
Rocco Fontana ...
Antonio
Franco Ressel ...
Onesimo
Mario Novelli ...
Ramiro
Cirylle Spiga ...
Angel (as Cyrille Spiga)
Diego Bardon ...
Toreador
Adriano Cornelli ...
Soldier
Luigi D'Ecclesia ...
Soldier
Domenico Imperato ...
Soldier (as Mimmo Imperato)
Franco Doria ...
Soldier
Salvatore Furnari ...
Soldier
Bento Urago ...
Count Cerralbo
Antonio Epifania ...
Gomez
Edit

Storyline

The Spanish Civil War, as experienced by the town of Villa Ramiro. The local count and his Fascist nephews ally with the rebels; the count's son, indifferent to politics at the outset, later makes a choice; the town's teacher, Antonio Garcia, a pacifist, tries not to take sides but to inspire the children with ideas; a beautiful eccentric woman, Vandale, brings leadership and strength to the town; dwarfs long for equality. The fictive story of Villa Ramiro is inter-cut with archival footage of the war itself. The town is near Guernica, and the local Republicans draw inspiration from its freedom tree. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

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Release Date:

21 May 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Guernica Tree  »

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(Eastmancolor)
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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece of surrealist frustration and historical fiction.
23 February 2006 | by (Bloomsburg PA) – See all my reviews

Fernando Arrabal's films are not for everyone. But, if you enjoy Bunuel and Jodorowsky you must check out his movies. In fact Arrabal was part of the Panic theater movement with Jodorowsky. The events of Franco's rule over Spain during WW II had a great effect on Arrabal's childhood. "The Tree of Guernica" is not nearly as disturbing as "Viva la Muerte and "I will walk like a crazy Horse", but be warned it's still quite graphic. The film takes place during the Spanish Civil War in a small village in Spain, the Villa Romero. Franco's rise to power causes the town to unite and try to fight the fascist army. The horrible events during this era where what inspired Picasso's painting Guernica. The towns land baron has 4 sons, 3 are brutal and help pillage the town. The fourth brother Goya is an artist who is the opposite of his brothers. Goya challenges the church and state and thrives for social justice. Of course, like before Arrabal uses strong surreal imagery to shock the viewer into political awareness. Many might find the scenes of the villagers desecrating religious statues shocking. A large crucifix is blown into pieces, a man urinates on a statue of Jesus, and a midget masturbates on a statue of the virgin Mary. Also the film tells the story of Goya's romance with a lady Vandale, who's a local witch. "Guernica" contains many disturbing and memorable images which stay with you long after the films over. Arrabal's Swiftian like obsession with dwarfs to represent the oppressed and under class tint the film with a dark satirical edge of uneasy laughter. Midgets fight along side the town people with large shotguns. Some of the dwarfs are killed in a bullfight and others are crucified. Another scene that still stays with me is when the bombs drop on the village and stock footage is used. The beautiful Vandale carries a dead child in her arms, in a scene that shows the devastating effect of war. The film contains some very unique experimental sounds and music that create an even more surreal effect. "The Tree of Guernica" is a little seen masterpiece that only a artist like Arrabal could create. Do watch!


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