Je Suis Charlie: Illustrations do the talking

Je-suis-CharlieYesterday’s attack on Paris based satire magazine Charlie Hebdo shocked the world. It wasn’t just an attack on people; it was an attack on journalists, freedom of speech and expression and freedom of the press. These are important in today’s world. Freedom of speech makes us who we are and gives us the opportunities to have opinions.

Twelve people were killed, including journalists, illustrators and police officers, and that killing was senseless. Charlie Hebdo have been targeted before for the cartoons they print and yet they’ve always come back as strong as ever. This time is no different. In fact this time the world has responded, artists from all over the world have drawn cartoons in response to the attack. In this way we win. The world has come together with the hashtag #Jesuischarlie, the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo and other illustrators are being viewed in their thousands. Yes the shooting has happened on French soil but big crowds have been seen gathering in major cities worldwide and there has been moments of silence held in streets, at press agencies, by governments and by the police in respect for those lost.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Fantastically the issue that was being worked on at the time of the attack will be printed, in fact 1 million copies will be printed. Freedom of speech is not beaten and satire will not be cowed by any fanatics. As for now we need to keep doing what we do best, speaking.

For more cartoons visit The Independent.

Advertisements

Well Did You Evah’s Guide To WWI Films

In this household we watch a lot of films. I have a love for war films but I tend to find that the majority I do watch are WWII based. With this week being special, it’s remembrance day on the 11th November in the Centenary year of the start of WWI, I thought It’d be a good idea to educate you in the world of World War I films. Here I’ll pick 5 of my favourites that are memorable, shocking, and very different from each other.

 

War Horse (2011)

WAR HORSEHow this film makes me sob every time I watch it. Poor horses. This film is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name. The story revolves around Albert, a Devon lad, who joins up the war just to find his horse who was sold to the cavalry to aid the military effort. He vows to find the horse no matter what. The film basically follows the horse around and we see different aspects of the war from the frontline to a small devastated family who come to be in possession of the horse. It’s a touching story because it leaves none of the brutality and scariness out of the war. You basically fear for the horse. You fear for Albert searching for his horse. It’s a war film that takes you on a journey and makes you think more about what you’re seeing.

Paths of Glory (1957)

Paths of Glory is such a great World War I film because it shows the so called coward best-paths-glory-1957side of the war. Again this is based on a book, Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb, and the film is directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows four French soldiers who refuse to follow orders to undertake a mission because it is a suicide mission. Set in black and white we see the gore and devastation of the war, especially from a French perspective. The men are tried for cowardice and are eventually executed by firing squad even though their Colonel has fought their side. Paths of Glory is a film that really needs paying attention to, the cinematography and story are fantastic with so many twists and lots of WWI politics involved.

Wings (1927)

Wings is a silent film that still maintains and shows all the drama involved with war. It’s kind of light hearted for a war film in that Clara Bow’s character is in a love triangle, the wings-1927-002-mary-david-and-jacktwo guys go off to war thinking they’ve both won her heart then she becomes an ambulance driver in the war and unintentionally meets one of the guys in Paris, France. As in all silent films the drama seems a lot more intense with the music. The acting is superb and the romantic storyline running along the war will make it a hit for a broader audience. The ending is quite emotional with a twist of fate. It doesn’t seem as realistic a war film in todays terms but you have to remember before the 1950’s they made films on what sold well.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

lawrence-of-arabia-6

I chose this one because it’s based on factual events and looks at T.E. Lawrence’s time in the Arabian Peninsula during WWI so is completely different to the fighting and side of war a lot of films depict. Lawrence of Arabia shows us a lot of customs and difficulties a Western man might face in Arabia during the first world war. The fighting bares no resemblance to what the front lines in Belgium were seeing and the military there appear to be doing something completely different to the military in Europe. Peter O’ Toole and Omar Sharif bring life to the characters they play yet manage to have a military seriousness to the end. A great film to watch to get a different perspective on the war

African Queen (1951)

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in this brilliant film set at the beginning Hepburn_bogart_african_queenof WWI in German owned East Africa. Again this is a different side of the war. Hepburn plays a missionary and Bogart is the captain of the little boat, The African Queen, who brings in all the mail. War breaks out and they watch the Germans destroy the villages. Brilliantly Hepburn decides that the little boat can be modified into a torpedo boat to sink the big German gunboat that is blocking the river, and the way out. Fun ensues and the chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn makes the film enjoyable while still being a serious war film at the same time. The African Queen is a film that you can learn a lot from while smiling as well.

 

These are just five of the films that I love to watch and find entertaining, daunting and educational at the same time. War films can be scary but some can be fun and romantic so everyone can watch.

Just remember, what those brave men and women did for us will never be correctly or sufficiently shown in a film. All that can be done is recreations for us to watch, and ultimately, enjoy.

War Horse is on BBC One this Sunday 16th November at 8pm. 

The Crimson Field Review

What_did_you_think_of_The_Crimson_Field_

For the past six weeks the BBC have treated us to a fantastic war drama called The Crimson Field. This series was based in France and was set in a medical camp close to the front lines.

Throughout the six hours it’s been on our tv screens we’ve managed to see more of women’s lives in WWI than we’d possibly read in a book. It’s definitely bolstered the fact that women were indeed a crucial part of WWI

p01vbnlcThe main three ladies we get to know from the beginning are Kitty Trevelyan (Oona Chaplin), Flora Marshall (Alice St. Clair) and Rosalie Berwick (Marianne Oldham) all of them have their own secrets which we find out in the series. We get to watch them all grow in the short time we know them yet after the finale Sunday night it left me feeling like I’d known them forever. Suranne Jones plays another character who we know from the beginning, she plays Sister Joan Livesy. Sister Livesy is keeping a bigger secret than the rest of the ladies which makes her very interesting to watch.

One part I have to applaud the BBC on tackling is the taboo subject of Germans residing in Britain after the sinking of the Lusitania. We find out early on that Sister Livesy’s fiancé is a German, living in Britain, who goes back to be a German soldier. We find out that Germans who lived in Britain were treat very badly throughout this time. It’s quite an eye opener to see how different nationalities were so strictly divided but then we see this same division between the sexes and particularly ranks within the army.

tumblr_n5gz127YiE1qzq6dxo1_500

Each week we saw a different mix of soldiers come through the doors. This gave quite a visual of how the army, doctors and nurses dealt with different scenarios. A few that cropped up were desertion, keeping homophobia on the quiet, shell shock and mental health problems caused by the war and trust issues between the staff. Put in the time era of WWI and the punishments in place made these serious issues.

In some ways this series has been different to many you’ve seen before. I know when I first heard about it being commissioned I fell in love with the fact that thesuranne-jones-and-hermione-norris-in-the-crimson-field-136389032614410401-140404164356
main characters were female nurses from an everyday background. I loved that the actors were fairly unknown but you had the guiding light of experience such as Hermione Norris, Kevin Doyle and Adam James to keep it all in check so to speak. Everything else you learn about the war is an added bonus. The characters are obviously different to films you may have watched about both WWI and WWII, they feel a lot more gritty and strict. The nurses are also strict and stick with the rules, but you sometimes see the newer nurses facades crack a little reminding you they’re only human and they’re still only young.

In Sunday nights finale, which was a corker, the news comes in about Edith Cavell being executed which ties in with the storyline at that point. Everything within the series works well especially with the writers managing to weave real life stories into the scripts.

tumblr_n4d382JUTh1si51pco1_500The Crimson Field is really a series that needs to be watched. In my opinion it wouldn’t have worked as well for any other war. WWII sticks with women being Land Girls, Lumber Jills and Donut Dollies. WWI only seemed to depict women as nurses, there doesn’t appear to be many other roles for the fairer sex. The series manages to fit all the good, bad, ugly and forbidden of a year in WWI into six hours. Yes some questions don’t seem properly answered but this may leave room for another series… Just remember there’s still a lot of the war left at this point.

Watch The Crimson Field on BBC iPlayer here

Learn more about the series here