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Return to Life

Return to Life(1938)

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This documentary examines the events concerning military developments and medical aid in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The film begins in April of 1938, a time when Madrid is surrounded by a circle of cannons to keep invaders out. As the narrator explains, bombs were dropped on Madrid not long ago, tragically killing one hundred people and wounding thirty-seven others. Military leader Francisco Franco is said to have "smashed a church, but couldn't destroy a people." The strength of the Spanish Loyalists in their fight against the Fascists is examined in the picture, as are the daily operations of Spain's medical relief effort during Franco's purge. Scenes from a Spanish children's hospital show many innocent young victims of war recuperating at a seaside center. Due to the constant shelling of villages and cities, more manufacturing of bandages and other medical supplies is needed to treat the wounded. Another necessity, food, is harvested by fathers whose sons are away fighting Italian Nazi and Moorish armies on the battlefields. Also pictured are scenes showing ambulances being loaded with supplies and the care of wounded soldiers and civilians. The film puts the blame for the terrible conditions in Spain on the Rome-Berlin axis. Despite the horrors of war in their land, the people of Spain are shown taking a day to enjoy a fiesta, where, in a small town, people dance a one thousand-year-old dance. In spite of massive food shortages, the people of Spain are credited with saving themselves from defeat, rebuilding their homes and forging a "return to life."