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Fields of Sacrifice (1964)

 -  Short | Documentary
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Douglas Rain ...
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Short | Documentary

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Featured in Donald Brittain: Filmmaker (1995) See more »

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Beautiful film, timeless shots
1 April 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This National Film Board of Canada documentary, directed by Donald Britain, is a beautiful piece of film-making. There are timeless shots of everyday life and scenes taken in places where Canadians fought and died in the two great wars of the 20th century, particularly France, Belgium and Holland. There are moments of remembrance such as the last post being played at the Menon Gate in Ypres and children in the Netherlands placing flowers on the graves of Canadian soldiers. There is a very impressive aerial shot that slowly moves towards the massive monument at Vimy Ridge in France. There are shots of the graves of Canadians killed in action, the poppies waving in the fields of Flanders, and people going about their daily lives in faraway places haunted by the ghosts of Canadian soldiers. It should be noted that in recent years, the dwindling numbers of Canadian veterans have returned to the places they liberated and received huge welcomes.

Visually, the film is stunning and is enhanced by the voice of narrator Douglas Rain. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) made the film at the request of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is shown on the credits. Donald Britain said in an interview that the NFB took a different direction from what the Veterans Affairs department originally wanted, which was a film about Canadian war cemeteries overseas. The NFB negotiated a film that would also take an in-depth look at the locations of these cemeteries. Over the years, the NFB has become a great Canadian institution and won many awards, including Academy Awards for its animations and documentaries. This film is no exception to the quality of the NFB's work and a tribute to the work of Donald Brittain.


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