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1987, love in time of war. A bus driver George Lennox meets Carla, a Nicaraguan exile living a precarious, profoundly sad life in Glasgow. Her back is scarred, her boyfriend missing, her family dispersed; she's suicidal. George takes her to Nicaragua to find out what has happened to them and to help her face her past. Once home, Carla's nightmarish memories take over, and Carla and George are thrown into the thick of the US war against the Sandinistas. A mystery develops over where Carla's boyfriend is, and the key to his whereabouts may be Carla's friend Bradley, a bitter American aid worker. She finds her family, the Contras attack, and she and the Scot face their choices. Written by
It is easy to overlook this Ken Loach film. Critics had not been so kind about the excellent Land and Freedom as they had been in the past, and Carla's song didn't fare that well either. It seems difficult to understand why. The inimicable brand of social realism is there as is the focus on the experiences and emotions of the individual. There is even the trademark visual in-joke.
More than any other character in the recent past I cared for Carla. All performances are exceptional. What we have here is social realism that expands into political statement and ultimately human tragedy.
If at all possible, try to see this film. Carlisle's broad Scottish accent may make it difficult to follow for the non-initiated, but persevere, and you will be rewarded.
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