Australian Workers Film Guide


Produced by the Women’s Film Unit in 1984, this short documentary explores the struggle of Uruguayan women against fascism, dictatorship and human rights abuses, particularly against women.  The film is told through the eyes of Gloria Caballe, a lifelong anti-fascist activist with first hand experience in the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and across Latin America.

The horrors of World War Two and the impact it had on women strengthened her anti-fascist resolve, which was heightened by a post war visit to Ravensbrück – a Nazi concentration camp for women where tens of thousands of women were murdered.  

After a 1973 fascist coup in Uruguay, Cabelle fled to Australia where she now campaigns for the release of political prisoners across Latin America, in particular her old comrade Rita Ibarburu, a journalist who has been in a Uruguayan prison for eight years and is now suffering from ill health.  A symbol of women’s resistance to injustice, the campaign to liberate Rita Ibarburu is the central thread through the film.

Together with other Uruguayan women, Cabelle is shown forming a group in Sydney to fight for Ibarburu’s release, as they lobby churches, politicians, unions, and human rights groups. The Union of Latin American Women is seen organising marches and writing to the Uruguayan government as part of an international campaign to secure the journalist’s release, which is eventually successful. Adopting an observational style, the film has a grassroots aesthetic that wonderfully accentuates the quiet determination and solidarity of these women to fight against injustice. This grassroots feel is further enhanced by scenes of Gabriela Cabral playing a guitar and singing a song about the freeing political prisoners in Uruguay, a song written by Gloria Cabelle. The film also contains some confronting archive of human rights abuses during the Second World War and post-war Latin America, as well as anti-fascist protest footage from Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.

Special Notes/Achievements

Produced by the Women’s Film Unit, Film Australia.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 14 mins 22 secs

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Film Producer: Janet Bell, Jo Horsburgh, Faith Martin, Liza Taylor,

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Film Composer: Vidalita De Las Presas, Gloria Caballe,

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