On the precipice of a new year, I find myself like many others contemplating my future and my decisions about whether to change my life, and if so, how. Should I revisit the resolutions of my past and commit to doing 20 situps each evening, writing a poem every day, taking more photographs or overcoming my disinterest in telephone conversations to be a better friend/daughter/sister.
I have come to a simple conclusion.
Resolutions needn’t be tiresome, boring or a battle against your instincts. A resolution can simply be a decision to further your knowledge of something you enjoy learning about. A commitment to deepen your understanding of something.
So, I am making the resolution to deepened my understanding of 2 things dear to my heart but still to foreign in my understanding of them. The first is world war two. I have always been distinctly interested in this period of modern history. Whether due to some macabre interest in human suffering, the magnitude of information about the subject available, the proximity of the horror to the modern day, the familiar locations affected, I am not sure. I have visited checkpoint Charlie, listened to tales of my grandparents role in the conflict and roamed the imperial war museum too many times, trying to piece together an understanding of the reality of what happened. What has really interested me is the human element of these stories. How people coped, what they had to face, how they found the strength to carry on. I believe I have much to learn from these human stories. Much to gain from understanding how people dealt with the sadness round them. I feel I owe it to them to learn.
However, there are many different mediums to learn of such a subject. Talks, books, photographs. There is one medium I have chosen to further my understanding, That of film. Film is a medium I have tried to understand in my adult life, I have absorbed myself in its learning and gratified its ability to present a subject so beautifully and completely. It is one of the mediums I understand best, to try and learn about one of the subjects I understand least.
There is a huge variety of films produced about world war two. Some focused on the approach of the leadership, some on the impact on normal families, some mocking the devastating situation and some weighted down by its very nature. I have watched many of these over the years but not enough of them, watched a few on a piecemeal basis, but never thought of them as a collective expression of a particular time, each film an account of one way the war affected one part of the world, be it a place, a person or the very reality of life.
I resolve to watch all the films made about world war two. To try to exploit it’s perspective on the war and further my knowledge of the medium of film at the same time.. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or comments on my project, please let me know as I want to make this assessment as broad as possible.
I will document my watching’s on this blog with my own small analysis of the film and comment on my developing knowledge of the conflict as we go. I hope to do the genre justice, the conflict and myself a greater understanding of two subjects I can’t seem to ignore.
The first film will be Sarah’s Key, a Gilles Paquet-Brenner film of 2010. I have chosen this as my first film as it also shows a modern day attempt to try and understand the conflict. Watch this space.