Great War Stories screening
- Date: Tuesday, 24 April, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Free. No booking required.
Programme Rooms, Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon
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Come and see a screening of the fifth and final series of Great War Stories. Seven mini documentaries that are a personal and moving tribute to all those who were caught up in a war not of their making. Introduced by Anna Cottrell Producer and Director of the series. The letters, diaries and photographs preserved in the Alexander Turnbull Library have been extensively used for telling these personal stories.
The stories you will see
Great War Stories begins with the invasion of Samoa and ends with New Zealand’s last action in the First World War with the liberation of the French town of Le Quesnoy.
Among the seven stories is Rewi Alley, the most famous New Zealander in China for many years. It’s not well know he won a military medal.
There’s the story of Pixie Laing from Dunedin, who danced with the Folies Bergeres in Paris before stepping off the stage to drive ambulances.
Also see the story of the only woman to be held in solitary confinement on Somes Island, accused of being a German spy. Hjelmar Von Dannevill is thought to have come from Denmark and worked in Wellington as a healer. But her cross dressing caused concern in some quarters and the War Regulations were used against her.
The last story is of the New Zealand liberation of the French walled town, Le Quesnoy. It features the daring act of 21 year old medical student, Leslie Averill from Christchurch who was the first to scale the wall into the town. It had been occupied by the Germans for four years.
The music you will hear
Gareth Farr has written a cello concerto in memory of his three relatives, all from one family, who died in the First World War. The concerto was filmed being performed in a beautiful ancient cathedral in Northern France. The cellist, Sebastien Hurtaud, won the International Cello competition in New Zealand several years ago.
Anna Cottrell calls these short films about New Zealanders in the First World War, 'haiku' documentaries. The Editor Peter Metcalf describes them as ‘hand-made.'
Anna Cottrell says that 'These stories are personal, moving and a tribute to all those who were caught up in a war not of their making. The price was high and deep scars are felt generations later. It has been a privilege to shine a light on personal stories. None celebrate war,'