Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Aint War Hell? - Hope and Glory (1987)

"Hope and Glory" (named after a verse from the song "Land of Hope and Glory") is a 1987 semi-autobiographical account of director John Boormans experiences as a boy growing up in World war 2 England.

Initially, the film was banned for viewing in the UK due to its frank depictions of children engaging in sexualised behaviour and use of strong swear words, however this ban was overturned due to the fact that kids did these things regardless without seeing this film.

The Rowan family, consisting of father Clive, mother Grace, Bill and his sisters Sue and Dawn live a typical working class life in a suburb of London, however when world war 2 begins, Clive is called up to serve in the army and the family has to cope not only with him being away, but also with continuing a normal life amid nightly bombing raids and rationing.
Young Bill and his friends find the war exciting, and regularly play amongst the bombed out remains of houses, but, as the war drags on, life becomes more difficult, especially so as his mother will not allow him and his younger sister to be evacuated like many of the other children he knows.

The film offers a completely unsentimental look at life in wartime Britain, there's no moralising or happy circumstance here, everything is included, farts, swearwords and arguing over whether teenagers should be allowed out after dark, but yet the family struggles on, despite the fact that they are short on food, clothes and money and general interest in the war at all, other than Bills interest in collecting bits of shrapnel and watching propaganda laced newsreels at the local cinema.

I would heartily recommend watching this film, as few other films accurately portray normal people living normal lives during the war, especially so without them becoming some sort of hero of sorts.

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