Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hope and Glory

Hope and Glory; drama / grotesque / war, UK, 1987; D: John Boorman, S: Sebastian Rice-Edwards, Sarah Miles, Geraldine Muir, David Hayman, Sammi Davis, Derrick O'Connor, Ian Bannen, Katrine Boorman

Britain, World War II. Little boy Billy is surprised when the war arrives at his doorstep: his father leaves to fight in the battle front while he stays alone with his sisters Dawn and Sue and their mother Grace. Because of the frequent bombardment of London, the school is constantly interrupted, while their house goes out in flames one day, so they move to the quiet nature to their grandfather's estate.

Unusual director John Boorman added to his colorful filmography the semi-biographical humorous war drama "Hope and Glory" in which he, in a derisory and grotesque, but at the same time honest way, handled the events from his childhood during World War II, that won several awards quite justifiably, since it is one of his best films. "Hope" is sometimes overstretched, whereas the decision to push 10-year old actors into the world of adults (by swearing, for instance) is rather questionable, but as a whole the movie works marvelously, just like "Amarcord", since Boorman shows details and moments that are usually not seen in such films (the children are actually happy when the school is canceled during the Blitzkrieg; Billy hears the sounds of a couple reaching orgasm in the rubble; the teacher tells the children how Britain is fighting to keep it's 2/5 of the world; a wacky grandfather who shoots at a rat in the garden from the kitchen) that all give it a precious feeling of authenticity and freshness, while keeping the author's free spirit loose. It is also a form of nostalgic semi-therapy, since Boorman as a grown up manages to understand the war trauma he could not comprehend as a child.


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