At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the nun Maria is forced to flee her convent. She takes refuge in a brothel, until it is liberated by a woman\'s anarchist group. Maria joins the group and eventually goes to the front. The women\'s group faces the problems of fighting not only the nationalists, but also factions on the left seeking to impose a more traditional military structure.
 

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At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the nun Maria is forced to flee her convent.

There have been a few films about the Spanish Civil War in recent years - Ken Loach`s Land and Freedom is one. In Libertarias we get a spanish viewpoint, but one with an unusual focus. It`s the women who are centre stage here. Maria - Ariadne Gil - a nun who takes refuge in a brothel to escape her fate at the hands of the atheistic militia.... Charo - Loles Leon - a prostitute; Pilar - Ana Belen - is one of the militia who storm the brothel and convert the workers, and then there`s Floren - Victoria Abril - a woman in touch with the spirits.... all these women devote themselves to the republican cause, ending up on the front line. I have a feeling that Ken Loach got slightly more political accuracy with his film than veteran Spanish filmmaker Vicente Aranda - who made Lovers - does with Libertarias. The women are fighting not only for Spain but for their sex. Interestingly, although the women do carry guns and occasionally fire them, they tend to lug a lot of peeled potatoes as their primary duty. It`s a likeable enough film, given a depth that possibly it doesn`t deserve by Jose Luis Alcaine`s beautiful cinematography, because basically this film is a soapie in a highly emotive and highly political context. Unfortunately the politics tend to fade into the background while emotion attains the high ground.

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2 hours 5 min

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