Guernica

Guernica

DVD - 2016
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8
Spain 1937: An American journalist and a press-office censor form a secret alliance days before a bombing that sets the stage for WWII.
Publisher: Culver City, CA : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2016]
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (111 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
digital,optical,5.1 Dolby Digital (English, French, Japanese, Thai)
video file,DVD video,region 1

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r
richmole
Aug 11, 2019

Pleasantly surprised.

You take a risk choosing a foreign film written and directed by someone who, at the time, had very few screen credits, from a country (Spain) not especially known for cinematic know-how and no world-wide credibility. The movie's two main British stars--weren't too familiar to me, either, although I've since learned they've had some significant screen roles in NA and in the UK. Writer/director Koldo Serra has highlighted another risk: ignorance of the event's significance. "...when we were trying to sell the film, we were surprised to find out that people know the [Picasso] painting, but they don’t know the story behind it.”

The World War II action/romance, Guernica, was and is worth the risk!

It was an ambitious undertaking, and everyone associated with it met the challenge, not the least of which was depicting the bombing of the now-famous Basque town during the Spanish Civil War.

Bonus: viewers will likely discover some other aspects of the time and place you'd didn't know--including the role of Russia.

PS: one review takes issue with the film's literary license: "The journalist hero was British," he maintains, not American. In reality, George Steer, on which the fictitious reporter was modelled, was neither. He was South African journalist who covered--among other events--Italy's earlier invasion of Ethiopia.

n
Nooksack20
Apr 03, 2019

The content of this film rather than the acting or scenery is what is important. It tells am important story of pre-WWII Germany's lack of respect for human life and the devastation without consideration of Nazi Germany as they practiced their warfare on innocents who were defenseless.

a
AureliaReads
Nov 10, 2018

This film by a Basque filmmaker tells an important story. The main military facts seem accurate: a surprise attack, with no justifiable military rationale other than trying out a new kind of German bomb using the cordite the British invented in the late 1800s and killing / terrorising as many civilians as possible. The film depicts the horror vividly and movingly. Very sadly, and -- for me -- unforgivably -- the writers of a Spanish-French collaboration changed the main character's nationality. The journalist hero was British. His name was George Steer. He was NOT an American named Henry. Read the many web entries about him. He deserves our respect. He did not deserve to be written out of what claims to be a historical depiction of military evil and the courage of war correspondents who report on it.

k
kpelish
Jul 24, 2018

I found this story more interesting for its depiction of the Spanish Civil War than the love story between the man and woman. Both are attractive--and the journalist nails the stereotype of a hard-drinking, cynical reporter who's surprised by love--but I didn't see much chemistry between them. Northern Spain's scenery is beautiful. The film captures the Resistance to fascism, every day life in the midst of war, the fighting of women side-by-side with their men (there is an especially brave/foolhardy photojournalist who risks her life), and the competing factions who were using this war as a test bed prelude to WWII. Guernica was the first city to be deliberately targeted by the Nazis as a 3-hour bombing, Blitzkrieg-style attack, with civilians as the main target.
Immortalized forever by Picasso in his abstract painting of the same name. If you like this movie, you're likely to enjoy "Pan's Labyrinth," told mostly through the eyes of an imaginative child trying to survive her mother's new marriage to a Spanish fascist.

k
KennethSmith
May 05, 2018

Comments below may be disregarded.

The Picasso-inspired tableau: nicely done.

l
LEL
Jul 17, 2017

Bad acting, flat delivery, and an unbelievable storyline. In the USA's ongoing attempts to rewrite history so that the USA - or at least a stalwart American - is the hero (as in "The Monuments Men", etc.), this American movie pits an American journalist against not only Franco's right-wing forces, but also against the German airforce, Soviet puppetmasters, and devious Spanish Republicans. So what if the Spanish Civil War was really about the overthrow of the popular Republican government by Franco's right-wing militia, aided by Hitler's and Mussolini's military? What this movie really wants to do is to make an American the hero of the day, while portraying the Russians (who were the ones actually trying to help the popular Republican government survive) as ruthless and cruel intruders. I had to turn the movie off halfway through, I was so offended by this revisionist crap!

l
LauraSteinert
Dec 23, 2016

This starts out very well. The scenery, the costumes, the milieu are all interesting. The script isn't very good and the acting in not great. From about 10 minutes in, the plot becomes convoluted, the story gets lost, and the audience may fall asleep. However, for about half an hour we get a view of a sexist, politically torn, anti-press and propaganda, anti-war, anti-American, anti-war Spain.

m
ms_mustard
Nov 01, 2016

I stopped watching when a female reporter snapping her camera - in heels, hat and a beige trench coat - was able to run through the front line 'no-man's land' dodging machine gun bullets.

also I found the sound a bit smudgy and there were no English subtitles.

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