Thursday, 25 March 2010

Review: La Buena Nueva (The Good News)

YESTERDAY, the Cornerhouse in Manchester showed the Spanish film 'La Buena Nueva' (The Good News), the true story of the trials of a young sincere priest who is sent to a poor village in Navarra, bordering the Basque region, but in 1936 the centre of traditional right-wing Carlist politics and religion. On his arrival the socialist mayor and his party are about to be overthrown by a group of Falange fighters and incomers, who are sent to unite with the local Carlists to take over the village. Several socialists who take to the hills to escape are shot by the Falange. Others are thrown in a pit.

The priest trys to maintain some sort of neutrality for the Church and adopt a prudent postion helping some of the widows of the victims. But tensions develop, not just between the priest and the Falangist incomers, but also between the Carlists and the Falange. Conflicts between differing approaches to the Church and religion of the conquerering parties are lightly touch upon. More interesting is the priest threat to the boss of the Falange that one day he would have to pay for the killings. The implication throughout the film is the underlying suggestion that some day the bodies will be discovered, making the film a harbinger of what is now happening in so far as there is a recuperation of historical memory and a recovery of the bodies of Spanish Civil War victims all over Spain. Writers in Spain are already turning out novels about the civil war and no doubt there will be many more films on similar subjects.

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