I have just returned from watching 1917 at the cinema. Have you seen it? We had a free afternoon (old sort-of-retired couple) and I had heard good reviews, and so I dragged Husband away from his desk. We had slightly weird seats right at the back, at the top of the stairs. They would be good for short people, as no one is in front of you. But we are not short, so it just felt weird.
We watched 27 hours of adverts, as per usual at the cinema, and then the film started. It has some very classy actors, who each appear for about 3 minutes. The scenery is spectacularly realistic, and the story is gripping. Within the first 10 minutes I realised that I do not like war films.
I am an author, my ‘job’ is all about empathy, getting inside someone else’s head, understanding how they feel in different situations—in fact, more than that, it is about actually feeling what they would feel. Which makes watching a war film pretty traumatic. I hid under my coat and wished I had a fast-forward button.
Now, 1917 is an exceptionally well made film. It is all about (no big spoilers) a soldier being given a mission that will save hundreds of lives, and how he overcomes huge odds trying to accomplish this mission. We watch scenes which I assume are very realistic, see people dying as they would have died, see the bodies left to rot, see the ugly destruction of nature and property and people that is the result of war. And the soldiers were so young. The death of boys is always horrible.
I found I spent the whole film trying to detach myself from the horror I was watching! I told myself, “listen to the music, try to identify the instruments being played, think about the orchestra” or “imagine being the person who put this set together, which things would they have made and what was here naturally” –anything in fact to distract myself from the film. I was probably not their target audience.
I think everyone should see one, excellently made war film in their life. They will then realise how awful and destructive and traumatic war is. This film is certainly worth seeing if you have not seen such a film. I remember the first such film that I saw, it was Platoon, when I was a student, and in a couple of hours I went from utter ignorance about the Vietnam war to shuddering whenever I heard it mentioned. I did not enjoy the experience, but I think it was probably good for my naïve young self to watch it.
If you like war films, or have never seen a decently made one, then I suggest you watch 1917. However, if you want a relaxing afternoon, I believe Little Women is still in cinemas.
Thanks for reading. I hope nothing in your week is traumatic. Take care.
Love, Anne x