Thursday 13 December 2018
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.theguardian - 1 month ago

We properly honour the past when we remember in new and vital ways | Tim Adams

A century after the end of the Great War, we can’t let remembrance become a hollow ritual. Imaginative and innovative projects show howOn Friday lunchtime, I left the bright streets of the West End of London – goodbye Piccadilly, farewell Leicester Square – and along with a few dozen other souls took up a seat in the flickering dark of a cinema to watch Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old. Jackson’s film, which restores colour and speech to real footage of the war on the western front, is both a technical miracle and a shattering human spectacle. “Bloody injury. Real dead bodies,” the British Board of Film Classification warns in rating the film “15”, the age of some of those hundreds and thousands of young men who feature briefly in it.Jackson, whose grandfather survived the war in France, has devoted the three years since his final Oscar-nominated instalment of The Hobbit to constructing his film. It began with an invitation from the Imperial War Museum to spend some time with the footage and oral testimony in its archive, to see what could be done. The result sometimes seems less an act of cinematography than of resuscitation. Using painstaking digital colouration techniques and a small battalion of lip-readers, it kisses life into lost faces and voices. Bits of snatched conversation, a century old, are heard above the thunk and clatter of shell bombardment. Some are addressed to the camera. “Hold up, boys, here it comes, we’re in the pictures.” Continue reading...

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