Documentary - Completed 2017

In the mid-twentieth century, Rota was a small fishing and farming town in the Spanish province of Cadiz right at the gates of the Mediterranean Sea. One day, 8,000 American marines docked on the bay and life was forever altered in completely unexpected ways.

    • Year of production
    • 2017
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • SPAIN
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 75 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Vanesa BENITEZ
    • Writer(s)
    • Vanesa BENITEZ
    • Producer(s)
    • Daniel MENDEZ (Mano Negra Films)
    • Synopsis
    • In the mid-twentieth century, Rota was a small fishing and farming town in the Spanish province of Cadiz where one day 8,000 American soldiers docked on the bay, disembarked and changed everything forever. They built a giant naval station and occupied land and sea. Fishing and agriculture was over in Rota, and everything started to be different to the rest of the country. Spain was still struggling with the aftermath of a terrible civil war and Spain's dictator, Franco, was ruling with an iron fist. His autarchy regime was in need of foreign approval, and most of all, financial help. The USA and Spain shared a common enemy, the Soviet Union and communism all together, and so it goes that both governments found some common ground to ease each other's needs. The deal was sealed during Eisenhower's first visit to Spain: Franco allowed the construction of several naval and military stations for U.S. Forces on Spanish soil and, in exchange, his regime would receive financial aid and the long longed for recognition.
      Rota was perfectly situated right on the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea which allowed total control and a strategic positioning for the 6th fleet including, years later, the famous polaris nuclear submarines. Rota was suddenly flodded with dollars, Levi´s, Marlboro cigarettes, Harleys, Rock and Blues and missiles. And, of course, love stories between local girls, closely watched by their families and neighbours, and young soldiers.
      What used to be a very quiet street of an Andalusian village in the 60´s,named after a patron saint, the "Avenida of San Fernando" soon became a melting pot of people and cultures from all around the world: young marines and soldiers, some in transit to or from Vietnam, waitresses from all corners or, even, the many prostitutes that would come to Rota from as far places as New Zealand to be employed by one of the six different Chinese families who controlled most of the clubs and bars and that were suspected to work for the KGB. And so it is that, soon, this street started to be known as “la calle del pecado” - Sin Street- and made headlines all over the world on international newspapers and magazines such as The Observer in England.
      Partly nostalgic, partly critical, with a very special sense of humour (for which Andalusians and specially people from Cádiz and Rota are very well known) and through the use of many never-before seen archive images provided by the protagonists, Rota n' Roll documents and shines a little light onto the sometimes scary, sometimes funny but definitely wild years when Americans took over a small, secluded and impoverished village and turned it into their playground creating a strange oasis amidst a fascist dictatorship with a strange mix of liberties, immorality, progress and strong religious beliefs while, at the same time, defending the world from the "evil" communists.