Nae Pasaran ****

Director: Felipe Bustos Sierra

Alison Rowat

GLASGOW Film Festival has had to do battle this year with very own Godzilla of weather known as the Beast from the East, so it was fitting that the event ended last night with a tale of Scots pluck that made the heart soar.

Nae Pasaran, directed by Felipe Bustos Sierra, began life as a short film in 2013. It was too good to stay a short, as the resulting documentary proves.

The story begins with a small boy, Sierra as was, being taken by his journalist father to meetings of Chilean refugees in Belgium.

The family had fled, like so many others, after Pinochet’s murderous military coup. Comfort came from camaraderie and from the ritual reading of supporters’ names at the end of the meeting. On that list were workers from the Rolls-Royce factory in East Kilbride.

Who were they and what had they done? Sierra never forgot them, and when he grew up and became a filmmaker he resolved to find out more.

In 1974, a worker at the factory saw that some of the engines being inspected were set to go into the same type of jets the Chilean military were using to bomb civilians.

Joining a tradition of defiance down the ages, the union decided that this should not be allowed to pass and a boycott began.

No pasaran was the cry in the Spanish civil war. The Rolls-Royce workers had nae bother translating it into their own tongue.

The boycott lasted four years, with the workers never knowing how much impact, if any, they had had on a conflict thousands of miles away? Piece by piece, as if assembling his own engine, Sierra puts the story together. He starts in Chile, interviewing survivors of those days and military personnel alike. Then he travels to Scotland to meet the four men who led the boycott: Bob Fulton, Robert Sommerville, John Keenan and Stuart Barrie.

Bar a few animated reconstructions of events, Sierra does nothing fancy with his film. He does not need to, because in Fulton and company he has documentary gold.

Modest, eloquent, informed and funny, the four are dream interviewees, able to recall in painstaking detail the events of the time.

The East Kilbride workers did Scotland proud, and in another instance of international solidarity Sierra’s film returns the compliment on our behalf.