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Lest We Forget What? (2015)

Lest we forget what on Anzac Day? Mythology? Or history? Kate Aubusson goes on a quest asking is it just sepia-tinted anecdotes of ANZAC spirit and derring-do or the real stories of ANZACS and WW1 based on fact and evidence?


Rachel Landers


Rachel Landers


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Credited cast:
Kate Aubusson Kate Aubusson ... Herself - Host
Joan Beaumont Joan Beaumont ... Herself (as Professor Joan Beaumont)
Rhys Crawley Rhys Crawley ... Himself (as Dr. Rhys Crawley)
Joe Flick Joe Flick ... Himself
Roger Lee Roger Lee ... Himself (as Dr. Roger Lee)
Jim Molan Jim Molan ... Himself (as Major General Jim Molan)
Brendan Nelson Brendan Nelson ... Himself (as The Honourable Dr. Brendan Nelson)
Robin Prior Robin Prior ... Himself (as Professor Robin Prior)


Lest we forget what on Anzac Day? Mythology? Or history? Kate Aubusson goes on a quest asking is it just sepia-tinted anecdotes of ANZAC spirit and derring-do or the real stories of ANZACS and WW1 based on fact and evidence?

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Release Date:

19 April 2015 (Australia) See more »

Filming Locations:

Gallipoli, Turkey See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pony Films Pty. Ltd. See more »
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User Reviews

Great In Parts But Unable To Sustain The Good Points
28 April 2015 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

One thing that's been on the news very recently is the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign . One hundred years ago an allied force landed on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli which ended in one of the bloodiest and most futile campaigns in military history . I marked this centenary by watching Peter Weir's 1981 Aussie epic GALLIPOLI which while being a good film is a rather bad history lesson . By coincidence the next piece film making I saw was LEST WE FORGET WHAT ? which as it turned out was a complete antidote to the Weir film

As I said in my review of GALLIPOLI I did know the campaign is much more remembered in Australia and New Zealand than in Britain and France but Rachel Landers documentary surprised me as how much it is remembered . Presenter Kate Aubusson shows us that Australia now treats this battle as some sort of rock and roll pilgrimage . Thousands of young Australians travel every year to the battle site to have a good booze up and remember fallen generations , a site that often resembles somewhere like the Glastonbury festival with countless young people camping out overnight . Interestingly right away Weir's film is brought up and it appears that for almost 30 years it's a movie that an entire generation in Australia has grown up with . As I said it's a good film but poor history and the documentary goes out of its way to expose the myths and show the reality . Best of all it tries to explain why the myths started in the first place

Much of it comes down to geo-nationalist human nature . Human beings regard themselves highly . It extends to national identity and Gallipoli being a defeat means a nation of individuals need someone to blame for that defeat . Dr Roger Lees lectures a unit of officer recruits that propaganda plays a large part of history . The Dardenelles campaign was doomed from the start and had no chance of succeeding even if the initial battles had been won by the allies . Even if the campaign had succeeded it would have made no difference to the war . Perhaps most importantly of all the propaganda stated the Turks weren't up to much as soldiers when in fact the Turkish army was already a battle hardened and experienced army compared to the allies in general and the ANZACs in particular . Major General Jim Molan confirms this and points out that armies and nations believe their own myths that "We are all natural soldiers" and that it's difficult to believe the enemy could be better . He also makes a telling point there's an element of victimhood involved through civilian eyes and that anyone who was master of a trench raid where they'd beat their enemy to death with clubs which the Aussies had a reputation for is not a victim . Perhaps the most informative interview is with Dr Rhys Crawley who along with Aubusson visit the grave of Major General Sir William Thorsby Bridges the most senior Australian officer killed during the first world war and yet remains forgotten in Australia . It wasn't just enlisted privates who were killed in the conflict and the horrors of war had an egalitarian aspect . Crawley states most of the myths are entirely down to the official Australian historian Charles Bean who got his information from lower officer level which eschews much of the truth of first world war history and Crawley states how frustrating this is . Finally Professor Robin Prior is interviewed and he buries the myth that while the ANZACs did the fighting and dying the Brits were sipping tea on the beach . Again Charles Bean is brought up and Prior states who wouldn't have been able to see the shoreline of Suvla Bay from his vantage point . Even if he had he wouldn't have seen any English officers since the regiment there would have been an Irish one

As fascinating as this is the documentary starts losing focus in the second half . Aubusson reads the letter of a mother whose son has been killed and almost bursts in to teas . I don't want to sound callous but if you're studying history it helps to be unemotional and detached . She does later break down in tears reading about a relative who spent the war suffering from venereal l disease and young men suffering from this condition were treated like criminals . There's actually a good reason for that and that is under military law venereal disease was and is classed as a self inflicted wound . In the context of the first world war that would be enough to get you court martialled and face a firing squad . There was nothing wrong with this and nothing right about it either - it was just the way things were and for a documentary that wants to expose the truth it does end up being rather ironic . But regardless LEST WE FORGET WHAT ? is a very informative documentary

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