“The unique story of a person who, in a civil war, saved the lives of his enemies”.
Melchor Rodríguez García, a former bullfighter from Seville, was an anarchist and member of the CNT-FAI who saved the lives of thousands of right-wing people during the Spanish Civil War. Yet his life story and exemplary approach in the context of that deeply divisive conflict is little known among the general public.
Imprisoned for political reasons over thirty times during his life, Melchor Rodríguez was appointed Commissioner for Prisons under the anarchist Minister of Justice, García Oliver. In late 1936, still in this post, he prevented the illegal removal, kidnapping and execution of prisoners from Madrid jails, endangering his own life on numerous occasions. In Alcalá de Henares, for example, he faced a raging mob at the prison gates to defend the lives of those inside.
Later, as a city councillor and last republican mayor of Madrid, he was in charge of handing the city to General Franco’s troops after Colonel Casado’s military coup. Despite his humanitarian actions, Rodríguez was tried by the victors and condemned to 20 years’ imprisonment, of which he served five.
His funeral in 1972 brought together anarchists and members of Franco’s Regime, a unique case in Spanish history. And a life story that seems like movie script. As he put it, “you can die for your ideals but never kill for them.”
Interviews and footage shot on location in Madrid, Seville and Cádiz (El Puerto de Santa María and Casas Viejas).The outstanding selection of interviewees includes Paul Preston, Eduardo Pons Prades, Ian Gibson, Santiago Carrillo, Gregorio Gallego, José Luis Gutiérrez Molina, Amapola Rodríguez (Melchor Rodríguez’s daughter), Cecilio Gordillo, Ignacio García Noblejas and Ramón Luca de Tena.
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Running Time: 83´
Format: HD (1920 x 1080)
©Argonauta Producciones SL. 2015