(TORONTO, ON) – The National Film Board and the Vimy Foundation- produced film Vimy Ridge is a story told of a young Canadian girl’s return to the Vimy War Memorial to pay homage to her great-grandfather who never retuned home.
For the hard facts on the battle, check this out from the Canada War Museum website.
What is unique about this 9-minute documentary, directed by Denis McCready, is the use of colourized archival footage interwoven with animated sketches of the girl paying the visit. One gets the feeling this was designed for the younger set who are not terribly familiar with black and white cinematography.
The very limited battle footage conveys a horrible scene, but is limited. Instead, there is a focus on the average soldier living through each day preparing for battle, getting mail from home, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and eating as comrades and, many, as friends.
In other words, the documentary delivers more of a human than a militaristic view.
The connection with the soldier as a human rather than a cog in the military machine fuses the viewer with the soldier more so than does grainy black and white footage narrated by a stern sounding older man. Much of this archival material has yet to been seen before and its colorization is a big bonus.
Again, it draws the viewer closer to the soldier as well as the little girl’s commentary and the narration from a young soldier.
The battle lasted from April 9 through 12, of 1917. Over 100,000 Canadian soldiers participated in this truly all Canadian battle and 3,598 were killed.
You can view the documentary online and it will also be showing at 17 Cineplex Entertainment theatres along with a re-release of the film Passchendaele.