A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War 2. For a young boy, this time in history was ...
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A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War 2. For a young boy, this time in history was more of an adventure, a total upheaval of order, restrictions and discipline. The liberating effect of the war on the women left behind. And the joy when Hitler blows up your school. Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
I've been watching 'Hope and Glory' for almost 20 years now, since its release in 1987 and it is still a total pleasure to view. John Boorman has re-created his memories of experiences during the Blitz and produced what could have been a very cynical, black comedy. But instead of dwelling on the death and destruction he has created a delightful pastiche, almost like a fairy tale, viewed through the eyes of a boy, Bill (Boorman himself), as he adapts and revels in the collapse of all the old and comfortable patterns of his life.
I am no fan of child actors, of the Shirley Temple/Freddie Bartholomew type, but these young British actors are wonderful. Bill is played by Sebastian Rice-Davies, a kid who seems to be possessed by the humor and life experience of a 35 year old. His younger sister, Geraldine Muir, steals her scenes with her cherubic face and rapier tongue. Her commentary on sex is hilarious.
The cast is uniformly excellent, though often over-shadowed by their young colleagues. Ian Bannen once again shines as their grumpy grampa, full of vinegar and oaths. His character is revealed to the fullest extent as he shakes his fist at the power lines encroaching on his idyllic house on the river Thames, hissing out "I curse you, volt, watt and amp!" This is indicative what all has been lost prior even to the bombs falling; the advancement of what is popularly thought to be Progress.
'Hope and Glory' is a salute to a more civilized society that was dealt a death blow during The Great War (WWI) and would be buried forever after WW2, Hitler's bombs just sped up the process of the dissolution of civility and decency.
But there is hope inherent in this film. Humor survives and the links with the past are secure, as embodied in the relationship between Bill and his grandfather, they connect and that connection cannot be broken, leaving me with the thought that perhaps we can return to better days, before MTV, Jerry Springer, Enron, Bill Clinton and a government educational system that demands our conformity to some sort of ephemeral "norm".
'Hope and Glory' is endlessly thought-provoking at the same time making one laugh at the follies of human-beings.
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