Anarchism

Friday A/V Club: Anarchists Take Over Film Industry, Make a Revolutionary Children's Musical

One of the odder artifacts of the Spanish Civil War

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On the gooooooood ship an-ar-chy…
SIE Films

During the Spanish revolution of 1936, anarcho-syndicalists seized the movie studios and labs based in Barcelona and Madrid. In the ensuing years, they made radical documentaries, they made politically charged dramas, and, of course, they made a children's musical. Wait, what?

Yes, a children's musical. The anarcho-studios still needed to pay the bills, and that meant producing commercially viable entertainment along with the agitprop. Or, in this case, combining their commercially viable entertainment with their agitprop. In Nosotros somos asi, young Spaniards meet regularly for a sort of informal variety show at a boy's house, watching other kids sing, dance, recite a poem about a kitten, and even do a Busby Berkeley–style production number. These performances are intercut with scenes linked to the ongoing social revolution. There is talk of barricades. A boy's father is arrested, and then some children persuade an official to destroy the evidence against him. The rich kid sheds his class prejudices and develops a proletarian consciousness. Eventually the children have a big revolutionary meeting where the girls demand equal rights with the boys and a sign calls for less study time, more recess, and the abolition of arithmetic.

Unfortunately, the only subtitled version of the film that I could find was translated into French, not English. (The summary in the previous paragraph comes via my bad college Spanish, my worse high school French, and the judicious use of Google Translate.) But even if you can't understand a word of it, you should at least watch the introductory sequence, with children in different poses declaiming directly to the camera. And then, if you want to see the Busby Berkeley knockoff, you can skip to the 12:17 mark:

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)