Nicaragua: No Pasaran

Major Essay Task

In the documentary Nicaragua: No Pasaran, David Bradbury has presented a biased impression of reality, and has used many techniques to present this reality to the viewer. The aim of the documentary is to cause the viewer to feel sympthatetic to the Sandanista\'s and become distanced and anti towards the Americans. Both these two parties are portrayed very differently to achieve Bradbury\'s desired viewer positionment.

The start of the documentary presents the Nicaraguan society with a community type spirit, giving off a festival type atmosphere. There is local-type music, and people present from all walks of life. They all seem to be happy, and the Sandanistan military is shown very briefly. Suddenly, this mood is juxtaposed with footage from a Nicaraguan mass funeral, which outlines the extreme differences in the Nicaraguan society. It becomes apparent that this conflict has political roots, and the viewer questions the motives of the enemy to the people at the funeral. The crowd is chanting no pasaran which translated means no entry. Later in the documentary, it becomes apparent that the Nicaraguan\'s do not want American control of their county as a puppet. A low camera angle shot of a soldier is seen in a stance which indicated to the viewer that the Nicaraguan people would prefer to protest by passive means rather than by aggressive ones, but is prepared to fight if it is deemed necessary for their survival. Already, in these opening scenes, Bradbury has positioned the viewer to begin to feel sympathetic toward the Nicaraguan\'s.

The featured leader in the documentary of the Sandanista\'s and the Nicaraguan government is that of Thomas Borhes. This is done because Borhes is the one that the viewer can feel more sympathetic and supportive towards, because of what happened to him in the past. Plus, if they feel more sympathetic and supportive toward Borhes, then they can feel the same way (to) about the Nicaraguans as a whole. Borhes shares his duty to govern Nicaragua with nine other people, and this is seen as very fair and democratic. He si seen as a man of the community, during shots of him milling with the general populace. A re-enactment is staged which portrays Borhes in a prison cell, where he was treated barbarically. But, even so, Borhes states that he felt sorry for his captors, even though he remembers describing them as beasts. Such a statement creates more support from the viewer. Why? Explain. Also the detail selected only shows the undesirable things that have happened to Borhes (which collect sympathy and support), but not the undesirable things Borhes has dished out to other people (which would easily disperse the support). Such careful selection of detail helps create Bradbury\'s impression of reality. Furthermore, Borhes is put across as a martyr, How is this done! for detail presented to the viewer makes out that he sacrificed himself for the good of the cause, in this case, for the good of the revolution to overthrow Somoza. Some of Borhes\' characteristic traits which can then be gathered show an honesty and loyalty toward Nicaragua and its people.

The same stance used on Borhes is also (true) used for the Sandanistan military. They (are very) constructed as being humanistic. Shots of these are seen as the first presented montage; they eat food, they listen to music, and they almost seem to be having leisurely fun. One quick shot of a soldier playing his rifle as a guitar creates the feeling that the rifle would only be used of needed in defence. Guitars are harmless; playing a rifle as a guitar tends to support the Sandanistan and Nicaraguan belief of passive protest in defence of their country. Also a shot of the soldiers sharing the scene at a river with a woman who is washing her hair reinforces how the Sandanistan forces are friendly, non-threatening, unintrusive, and not aggressive. This reflects upon the whole of Nicaragua in the same way, and the viewer is further positioned in an impressionistic reality. While the Sandanistan forces are seen in this passive way, their enemies are not.

The National Guard is (then) portrayed, with great use of Juxtapositionment. They are not (seen) as humanistic at all, rather more mechanical and automated, melded together as one.