Vicente Aranda?s lavish 1993 epic of the Spanish civil war may pale in comparison to his masterpiece, If They Tell You That I Fell, when it compares the power dynamics of sex and politics. But it shares that film?s sense of emotional purgation and its cynical view of the status quo. A young nun (Ariadna Gil) travels incognito with an army of anarchists as they march from Barcelona to Zaragoza in the giddy days of the Republicans? early triumphs, but her faith is badly shaken by the gruesome carnage of war. Aranda never shrinks from the horrors of combat—his bleak and sometimes claustrophobic battle scenes surpass the emotional authenticity of anything in Saving Private Ryanmdyet he?s unsparingly sardonic in exposing the leaders? hypocrisy. He?s most interested in the idealism and camaraderie of those fighting in the streets and trenches, and it’s no accident that the most valorous and sensible among them are women. In Aranda’s revisionist history, whores and peasants are the true heroes—and the true victims.