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Passchendaele


Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 — 10:14am PDT
Comments 8

I’m a history buff and I’ll be the first to admit that if I could sit in on my grade 12 AP European History course again, every day of the week, I would. I’m also the grandchild and great grandchild of men who fought in the “war to end all wars” and the one that followed it. I lost family that I never came to know, on both sides of the fight, on the battlefields, in the air, and even in the blitz in London. November is always a time of reflection for me – about courage and struggles I probably will never be able to fathom.

As a first-generation Canadian, I also revere the people who helped shape our country. I feel pride when I hear their stories and read their words, which is why I’m really looking forward to seeing the film Passchendaele.

Passchedaele was a a series of messy, bloody, and heart-wrenching battles in WWI that saw over 500,000 casualties on either side. Canada entered WWI as a part of the British Empire, and from 1914-1918 we shipped off nearly 600,000 men and women even though at the time our entire country’s population was a budding 7 million. 241,000 Canadians were killed or wounded. [Canada in WWI]

With so many people still fighting all over the world, and also with so many Canadians losing sight of their nation’s history and dedication to the global cause, I think films like this are a ‘must-see’.

“[Writer-Director Paul Gross] examines the identity of Canada as a freshly independent nation struggling to shuck the shabby cloak of colonialism.” [Canoe]

It portrays one man’s a story – one sliver of time – and although I’ve simply based this on the trailer and other buzz, I’m hearing great things about it after it premiered at the TIFF.

I’m not a huge war movie person (John loves civil war epics) but this may be our next date movie (cause there also seems to be a lot of smooching). I’ll report back with a review here, whether it’s an epic war film or simply a tear-jerky mushy love story… or both.

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8 comments

  1. Matt says:

    We were planning on going to see it tonight after work, so I’ll have to let you know what we thought of it.

  2. Dale says:

    If you go into Passchedaele expecting a “Saving Private Ryan” or “Battle of the Bulge” style war movie, you’ll be disappointed. Which would be a shame, because this is a good movie. I think the promoters have done it a disservice marketing it as a war movie or story of the battle of Passchedaele. This is a story about the nature of love and sacrifice with the WW I backdrop heightening the drama.

    That the movie helps us remember the sacrifice of others, especially around Rememberance Day, and might spark interest in Canada’s place in history is all to the good.

    And if actor Caroline Dhavernas playing Sarah Mann looks familiar, think Wonderfalls!

  3. Wendy says:

    For a fantastic, Canadian, locally produced take on war, check out “Billy Bishop Goes to War“, governor-general award winning play, running through Nov 11.

  4. Miss604 says:

    @Matt – that would be great, I’d love to hear what you two think

    @Dale – thanks for that, I kind of got the feeling it wasn’t *too* war movie-ish

    @Wendy – thanks for sharing, I’m starting to become quite the live theatre fan these days

  5. I didn’t realise he’d finally gotten this made, I look forward to seeing it.

    I’m just teaching my 5 year old daughter about her Great Grandfather (WW2), Great Grandmother (The Blitz) and Great, Great Grandfather (WW1) who all sacrificed so much for their country and families. Although she can’t watch this, I can and explain it to her. Thanks for sharing!

  6. cj says:

    I went to see it last night at Scotia…only to be told that the 18h50 showing was preempted by some stupid local radio station screening. (Thanks to the great team at Scotia who forgot to update the weeb!). We went and saw something else instead.

    The even more crappy thing is that TODAY is the last night it is playing in Vancouver. Finally a totally made in Canada epic production and it isn’t even in theaters for Remembrance Day, how pathetic!

  7. Miss604 says:

    @ CJ – wow no way! I believe the Scotiabank Theatre was just doing two days a week but I still see it on the schedule for Tinseltown.

  8. […] more than any other, I have had the proud opportunity to view an abundance of Canadian movies both individually, at media screenings, as a part of a festival, or with the First Weekend […]

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