Seven New Zealand women speak about their lives during World War II: some lost husbands, some got married, some went into service themselves. The director lets the women tell their stories ...
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Seven New Zealand women speak about their lives during World War II: some lost husbands, some got married, some went into service themselves. The director lets the women tell their stories simply, alternating between them talking and archival footage of the war years.Written by
James Meek <email@example.com>
Director Gaylene Preston's documentary includes newsreel footage and personal photographs, intercut with to-camera interviews with 7 New Zealand women whose lives were effected by World War 2. Although some of the anecdotes are informative and touching, the women themselves mostly display a curious lack of emotion in the telling. There are no tears, which is a disappointment.
Preston shoots the interviews which last for up to 15 minutes each with the subject placed to one side of the frame, sitting against a black backdrop, with the camera placement differing for each woman. She uses sound effects (sometimes painfully obvious eg baby gurgles accompanying a photo of a baby), features some clumsy edits to cover the speaker's presumed rambling, and period standards on the soundtrack like "As Time Goes By" (over the credits and more obviousness), "Stardust", "Always" and "You are my Sunshine".
Of the 7 women, the most memorable are Tui Preston's soft-voiced tale of married adultery and the anguish of her incompatibly with a damaged husband, Rita Graham as the wife of a pacifist who was interned, and Neva Clarke McKenna who was a conscripted clerk and raped, her anger still palpable. Jean Andrews, who apparently died before the film was completed, reveals the reverse racism of Maori's who consider visiting Americans "baboons" yet criticise the American's racist attitude to "niggers". Plus footage shows a Maori custom of touching noses as a sign of grief.
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