The director who is most renown for creating The Lord of the Rings trilogy screen adaptation visited Oxford University to talk about his new documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old. He created this film using the original footage and voice recordings of World War I. Peter Jackson told the audience that the initial plan was to make 30 min film, however, there were so many stories to be told that it turned into a 1h 39min documentary.
The filmmaker decided to film it in colour as this was how the soldiers saw the world – they did not see it in black-and-white, and adding colour to the documentary helped to create direct empathy with the participants of war. Much of the original footage has never been seen by the public before as for many years it was saved in the vaults of London's Imperial War Museum. The beginning and the end of the film is in black-and-white – however, this was done not for some artistic reasons, but simply to fit within the budget.
The director discovered a lot of surprising things during the research for the film; for example, he found out that the British turned a blind eye on the age of the recruits, and there were a lot of boys as young as 14 joining the army. The documentary team were able to zoom in on the restored footage, and it was horrible how many very young faces they have discovered.
Short Stories Aloud: Elise Valmorbida and Jacqueline O'Mahony
This is one of my favourite regular literary events in Oxford! We gather downstairs at Blackwells and listen to actors perform short stories by two authors. After a short break, the authors answer the questions from the audience scribbled on paper notes. The event is hosted by an author Sarah Franklin.
This time we listened to writers Elise Valmorbida talking about her latest book The Madonna of the Mountains and Jacqueline O'Mahony talking about her book A River in the Trees.
Shame on me cause I did not find out the actors' names... maybe next time!
Did I mention that you get cake during the break?
If you'd like to find out more about the authors, here are the links: