Nae Pasaran


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Nae Pasaran
"An intriguing look at a small story that reflects a much bigger picture."

In September 1973, President Salvador Allende of Chile was unseated in a military coup. General Augusto Pinochet took charge of the country, backed by a junta which abruptly set about torturing, murdering and 'disappearing' anyone it associated with opposition. The following year, 7,500 miles away in Scotland, a group of factory workers discovered that they were making engines for Chilean fighter-bomber planes. Defying their bosses as Rolls Royce, they 'blacked' the engines, forbidding work on them. They might not be able to help the Chilean people directly, but they could do their bit to stop their situation getting worse.

Decades later, three of those workers get together in the old factory buildings to talk about what they did and why they did it. Made physically fragile now by age, they have lost none of the spirit that drove them then; neither have their convictions weakened. There's a sense of warmth between them as they share their memories and it echoes their sense of comradeship with the Chilean people (always referred to as 'workers') whom they sought to help.

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Was their help effective? That's called into question by Chilean government reports on the ultimate fate of the engines, and it's interesting to see the response. The contention that the reports may not be reliable seems reasonable in the circumstances, but perhaps there is also an element of denial induced by psychological investment. To one of the men, it might not matter so much. They certainly caused difficulty for the Pinochet regime, and their gesture of solidarity had the potential to carry an emotional charge more important that its material effect, strengthening the morale of the Chilean resistance who would ultimately drive Pinochet out.

There are many tangential issues here which it would be interesting to see explored in more depth, and the prospect of a feature length exploration of the subject being produced will appeal to many viewers. This obviously low budget support could benefit from more polished animation, better lighting, and a bit of tweaking in other areas, but it's still an intriguing look at a small story that reflects a much bigger picture.

Reviewed on: 06 May 2015
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Story of the Scottish factory workers who stood against the military coup in Chile from afar.

Director: Felipe Bustos Sierra

Starring: Felipe Bustos Sierra, Bob Fulton, John Keenan, Robert Somerville

Year: 2013

Runtime: 15 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2013

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