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Into The Fire : American Women in the Spanish Civil War 2002


Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 202-808-4980
Produced by Julia Newman/Exemplary Films, Inc.
Directed by Julia Newman
VHS, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
European Studies, World War II

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

This production looks at the role of the approximately seventy women who served in the International Brigades that supported the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War. The documentary begins with a somewhat simplistic and not too accurate statement to give background to the conflict. The women, who were certainly brave and idealistic, usually served in medical roles, though one of those interviewed was a truck driver. The International Brigades often had strong union support and the language they used is that of Communism/Socialism. The production uses still photos, newsreel clips, film, and recent interviews with surviving participants. A nice touch during the interviews is to have a small photo of the person as they were in Spain next to their name. Besides the narration, contemporary writings describe the scenes depicted. There is an epilog which shows the survivors returning to Spain in the early 1990s where they were treated as celebrities and granted honorary citizenship. Technically, this is an excellent production. Because of the small slice of this important conflict this production, as interesting as it is, is best as supplementary material. A hard look needs to be given to Soviet support of the Loyalists. Recommended, with these reservations, for Senior High audiences and older.