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Cult Films & Sounds, Spain & South America

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Archaeology Corner: Prisoners of Bunuel

Tierra Sin Pan (Land Without Bread) is a documentary made by Luis Bunuel in Extremadura in 1932, during Spain’s Second Republic. This was, I need hardly tell you, a time of huge social progress and equally violent unrest. King Alfonso XIII had abdicated and a progressive coalition of Republicans and Socialists had come to power. The government was attempting, amongst other things, to introduce an eight-hour working day and solve the “land problem” by giving proper tenure to agricultural workers. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Prisoners of Bunuel”

Archaeology Corner: El Derecho de Vivir en Paz

All translations by Google*

El Derecho de Vivir en Paz (The Right to Live in Peace) is a song by Victor Jara from the 1971 album of the same name, which also features the songs El Alma Llena de Banderas (Alma’s Up To Here With Antonio Banderas*) and Ya Parte El Galgo Terrible (I Went to a Terrible Party in Wales*). It was Jara’s expression of solidarity with the people of Vietnam, who in their desire to “live in peace” had comprehensively defeated the French in battle and were, when he wrote the song, giving the Americans a good hiding as well. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: El Derecho de Vivir en Paz”

In The Hands of the Living God by Lillian Bouzane

Book review, first published in THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE

It’s the last decade of the fifteenth century. Venice is top dog of Europe. For two hundred years her nobles have controlled the trade routes to the East, their galleys bringing riches up the Grand Canal and shipping them to the rest of Europe. But times are changing, and in an age of rapid progress the finest explorers of the day – Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Giovanni and Sebastian Caboto –  are engaged in a race to discover a passage through to the Eastern Spice Islands, a discovery that will mean the downfall of Venice. Continue reading “In The Hands of the Living God by Lillian Bouzane”

The Cloud Forest by Peter Matthiessen

Book review, first published in THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE 2003

“The Cloud Forest” first appeared in 1961 and brings to vivid life a journey Matthiessen made by sea, land and air, from New York, across the wide Sargasso Sea, to the jungles of Amazonia, and thence, via the Inca city of Macchu Picchu – already, in the early sixties, crawling with tourists – to the windswept desolation of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, winding up back in Brazil, in the wetlands of the Pantanal, an area half the size of France, and fabulously rich in fauna.

Continue reading “The Cloud Forest by Peter Matthiessen”

Telegram From Guernica by Nicholas Rankin

Book review, first published in THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE, 2003

On the 26th April 1937, at the height of the Spanish Civil War, the civilian population of Guernica (or Gernika, as it is known in Basque) was bombed by Franco’s nationalist forces. It wasn’t the first time civilians had been attacked from the air, but the sheer carnage of Guernica shocked the world. The man who did most to bring this atrocity to light, and who galvanised the expatriate Picasso into painting his greatest work, was George Steer.

Continue reading “Telegram From Guernica by Nicholas Rankin”

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