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An encapsulation of Spanish anarchism
As social commentary, Libertarias succeeds incredibly well. Despite the ignorant reviews written by some critics complaining that "90's politics ruin war drama," it is clear to any student of the Spanish conflict that the politics displayed are those of the 1930's. The film roundly criticizes the absurd hypocrisy of the Catholic Spain that Franco and his fascists were defending, illustrated perfectly by a scene in which the nun Maria is forced into bed with a bishop in a brothel - women are expected to be both whores and chaste nuns simultaneously.
As an encapsulation of Spanish (and international) anarchism it also succeeds - the film is peppered with quotes from Bakunin and Kropotkin, Buenaventura Durruti is portrayed as a character (giving his famous "new worlds in our hearts" speech) and the film even goes so far as to portray the ghost of Mateo Morral, an actual historical figure, who in 1906 attempted to assassinate the Spanish royal couple. Unlike Land and Freedom, Libertarias portrays the Spanish Revolution more than the Civil War, showing the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo and Federacion Anarquista de Iberica (CNT-FAI) at their height, in 1936 after having liberated Barcelona from the fascists. This film does an excellent job of correcting many of the slanders launched against anarchism, and of unearthing one of the most important events of the 30's, the Spanish Revolution. For anarchists, this film is a superb vindication that finally shows the movement at its most powerful.