Nae Pasaran!

 

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A moment in history as Scottish workers take action against Pinochet.

 

Nae Pasaran!

 

Felipe Bustos Sierra is director, producer and writer here so his deep commitment to this project is not to be doubted. That being so, it saddens me to have to say that I don't really feel that Nae Pasaran! is material truly suited to a full-length feature film. Inspiration for it came from what happened in March 1974 in East Kilbride when employees of Rolls-Royce Ltd. took political action. This site In Scotland was the only place in the world where engines for Hawker Hunters could be repaired. Consequently what these men did by blacking this work was a meaningful response to events in distant Chile where these planes were playing a vital role in the putting down of Salvador Allende and in the establishment of the CIA-backed junta of General Pinochet.

 

In the first half hour of Nae Pasaran! (the title recognisably being a version of what in English becomes the rallying cry "They Shall Not Pass") the film puts before us three Scotsmen who would ultimately receive awards from Chile for their actions back in 1974. That this film should offer a further tribute to them is fair enough but their recollections as they talk of these past events is hardly enough to sustain a film lasting over an hour and a half. To compensate for this we are given footage shot in Chile in recent times but much of this is a general reminder of the Pinochet regime already familiar in cinema (one thinks of the historical documentaries of Patricio Guzmán or for that matter the mainstream example of 1982's Missing). For many viewers this will not be new and, if at times its weight nevertheless overshadows the material about the Scotsmen, it is actually rather confusingly presented (for example images from 1975 show Dr Sheila Cassidy as a victim of torture and then much later in the film mention is made of her situation before that).

 

The end credits do reveal that three men seen in the film have since died so Nae Pasaran! does have value as a record with direct testimony, some of it caught just in time. Nevertheless, it feels long drawn out and its patent sincerity doesn't persuade me that feature film as opposed to a shorter television programme was the appropriate format. The project did enable Felipe Bustos Sierra to bring home to those from East Kilbride just how significant their actions had been although related investigations here touching on an exchange of Chilean prisoners of the regime for the possible release of engine parts ends in surmise with detailed proof lacking. For the reasons indicated I did feel that Nae Pasaran! was less effective than one would have hoped but anyone specially drawn to the material with a passion equal to that of Felipe Bustos Sierra is likely to be much more forgiving over what I see as the film's weaknesses.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  Bob Fulton, John Keenan, Robert Somerville, Stuart Barrie, John Gilles.

 
Dir Felipe Bustos Sierra, Pro Felipe Bustos Sierra, Screenplay Felipe Bustos Sierra, Ph Peter Keith, Ed Colin Monie, Music Patrick Neil Doyle.

 

Debasers Filums/BBC Scotland/Consejo Nacional de la Cultura Las Artes/Creative Scotland/Scottish Documentary Institute/La Ventana Cine-Sunrise Pictures.
96 mins. UK. 2018. Rel: 2 November 2018. Cert. 12A.