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Ferrua, Pietro
Some Curiosities. III. The Tree of Guernica (L’arbre de Guernica)
A film by Fernando Arrabal
Article published on 31 August 2003
last modification on 26 April 2015
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France/Italy, 1975, color


Cosimo Cinieri,

Ron Faber,

Mariangela Melato.

PRODUCER: Francesco Cinieri;

ASSOC. PROD.: Bernard Legargeant.

PROD. CO.: Babylone Films, Ci-Le Films, Les Productions Jacques Roitfeld, Luso France;

DISTR.: New Line Cinema

Arrabal situates the events in Villa Ramiro (the same as in his literary version) a microcosm from which he can extract a story concentrating most of the happenings of those years (1936-39).

The Republic has recently been proclaimed but that does not satisfy anyone in Spain: the bourgeois want all the power, while the people want more social conquests. Everyone seems to know that there will be a military coup and that it will happen on July 18, 1936. The people demand arms from the government of the Republic in order to defend it, but the military refuse, fearing a revolt. Despite this, Revolution triumphs but not everywhere and not for long.

The rich landowner’s castle is occupied by the UGT (a pro-socialist union then allied with the anarcho-syndicalist CNT) His own son, more a surrealist poet than a union organizer, is in favor of the revolutionists. He thinks that "ideas that fly on doves’ wings guide the world".

Antonio García, the schoolteacher, is a non violent admirer of Gandhi. Despite this pacifism, his innocence and the fact that he hid the Count during the time that the revolutionists occupied the town, the instructor will be condemned to death anyway.

The title of the film comes from a tree that remained in Guernica, despite the intense German bombing and it symbolizes hope.

The movie is very well filmed and interpreted but does not deal specifically with anarchism. The only allusions are some graffitis and posters in honor of the CNT or the FAI, but we find as many vistas for la Pasionaria as well as for the UGT

Pietro Ferrua

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