Land and Freedom (1995)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - Political Drama, War Drama  |   Release Date - Mar 15, 1996 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - Germany , Spain , United Kingdom , Italy   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Tom Wiener

Given his socially conscious fimography, it might be expected that director Ken Loach, with the opportunity to make a movie about the Spanish Civil War, would populate it with valiant men fighting for the Loyalist cause, a la For Whom the Bell Tolls. Land and Freedom, however, is a more complex portrait of an event which has inspired very little film coverage. Jim Allen's script does more than suggest how disorganized the men who came to Spain in support of the Loyalists were, and how often they were greeted with either indifference or hostility by the Spanish citizenry. Dave Carr (Ian Hart) is an idealist who simply assumes that fighting the good fight will unite him and his international company of comrades; instead he learns of deep divisions within the Loyalists on everything from battle tactics to political philosophy. By the conclusion of Land and Freedom, the viewer is better equipped to understand how internal strife, as much as lack of training and equipment, doomed the Loyalist cause, no matter how lofty its intentions.