Movie: They Shall Not Grow Old

Released for Armistice Day, this film by Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) takes 100 hours of black and white footage from the Imperial Museum, slows it down and transforms it into colour. The most striking thing is the faces. They look right at the camera- and you. Unlike the generic ‘soldier’ who flashes onto scratchy black-and-white film then disappears, each one of these faces is distinctive. The voice-over is a montage of audio snippets from 120 oral histories -600 hours in all- that reveal the commonalities of the war experience from these men who clearly come from such different classes and backgrounds. There are no names, no ‘iconic’ battles, no dates.  It’s excellent.

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