“There was this enormous feeling of wanting to come to grips, and not being able to.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
This is all highly complex — made even more so given that the American militia members (men and women, black and white) were overtly joining forces with the USSR and the Mexican Communist Party, an association which led to ostracization and blackballing once they returned back to an increasingly anti-Communist mid-century America. As the film clearly shows, their experiences in Spain were harrowing: they were underfunded, underfed, under-armed, and unexperienced, yet stayed with their cause at any cost, demonstrating the power of convictions and a desire to make a difference in the world. Listening to this feisty group of marginalized Americans discuss their willingness to sacrifice their lives to fight global fascism makes for fascinating viewing.
Note: This film was originally much more ambitious in scope, at ~6 hours long. It ended up focusing exclusively on the American militia in its ultimate 98 minute running time, but it is made clear that this truly was an international effort of militias from many nations joining the cause.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: