The atrocities that took place in Chile throughout the early 1970s are not something I was ever informed of in my British school. Along with the Peterloo massacre and the more gruesome details of Imperialism, it seemed to be conveniently left out for the comfort of those in power. Nae Pasaran was an eye opener for me, as well as a fantastically accessible and charming documentary, featuring the principled working class Scottish men that did their part in reducing the tragedy that took place. Their humility is awe-inspiring, and their impeccable sense of duty in the face of fascism is a message that needs reiterating today.
Beginning with a horrifying montage that encapsulates the complex events leading to the 1973 military coup in Santiago, Nae Pasaran has an agenda, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with. Sadly, the stance of anti-fascism has been increasingly seen as a radical one to take lately, and the film utilizes harrowing footage like the victims of the bombings in Santiago, as well as a reminder that many of the men featured fought in World War II, to reinforce that this is a moral imperative. Only one man is interviewed who seems to believe otherwise – the former commander in chief of the Chilean Air Force, who flatly denies the horrors that took place.
Though fairly conventional in its aesthetic, mostly using talking heads and narration over newsreel footage, the authenticity of the subjects interviewed is what sets this film apart. We first see the Scottish men drinking pints in a local pub before the interview begins, and the fantastic sense of comradery and respect you get from them is genuinely warming. They are unglamourous, unsophisticated, and mostly uneducated – this matters for absolutely nothing, and they tend to come across as more informed and intuitive than many of the experts interviewed.
Honestly, I have a hard time reviewing documentaries, so until I improve I’ll leave it at this: if you are political in any sense, or want to be more informed of modern political history, please see Nae Pasaran.