DVD harvest from Wollongong Library

First, the one I have yet to see – or binge on:


There’s 10 hours of that to watch, not to mention extras: TURN: Washington’s Spies (2014).

Yesterday I binged this 2009 French/National Geographic six parter:


It rates 9.2/10 on IMDb. I particularly liked that it was NOT from the Anglosphere, thus giving a different but compelling perspective.

Apocalypse: The Second World War (French: Apocalypse, la 2e Guerre mondiale) (2009) is a six-part French documentary by Daniel Costelle and Isabelle Clarke about the Second World War. The music of the documentary was composed by Kenji Kawai.

The documentary is composed exclusively of actual footage of the war as filmed by war correspondents, soldiers, resistance fighters and private citizens. The series is shown in color, with the black-and-white footage being fully colorized, save for some original color footage. The only exception to the treatment are most Holocaust scenes, which are presented in the original black and white.

I concur with this assessment on IMDb:

I watched this six-part documentary series when it was first shown on British television back in November 2010. I was absolutely blown away by it.

The main draw of this French-made series is the inclusion of colour film footage. The narration doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know about the war, but the colour footage, which plays constantly throughout the six hours, is tremendous and brings the era to life like never before.

Fairly wide-ranging in scope, this one covers the Nazi invasions, the Russian front, the British perspective and the War in the Pacific. I was moved, intrigued and came away feeling like I’d attended an extremely good history class on the subject.

Of course covering the whole war in detail in six hours is not possible, but given we might think we “have seen it all before” this series did engage me completely. BTW: the colorising is comparatively minimal; it is quite easy to separate colorised sequences from actual colour sequences. More opinions.

Finally a drama that really did make me cry at the end.


Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney in Ken Loach’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

Ireland 1919: workers from field and country unite to form volunteer guerrilla armies to face the ruthless ‘Black and Tan’ squads that are being shipped from Britain to block Ireland’s bid for independence. Driven by a deep sense of duty and a love for his country, Damien abandons his burgeoning career as a doctor and joins his brother, Teddy, in a dangerous and violent fight for freedom. As the freedom fighters’ bold tactics bring the British to breaking point, both sides finally agree to a treaty to end the bloodshed. But, despite the apparent victory, civil war erupts and the families, who fought side by side, find themselves pitted against one another as sworn enemies, putting their loyalties to the ultimate test.

I won’t do spoilers, but the ending really got me in! Apparently the actors didn’t know what was coming either…

See Rotten Tomatoes.

Of the movie, Cillian Murphy said: “If there’s an opportunity to work with Ken Loach, you can’t really turn that down. He’s made some of the finest films of the past 25 years. Whether you like or dislike his movies, there’s never a bad performance in them, ever. There’s none of the bullshit. There’s no trailers, no nonsense, no pampering. It’s a breath of fresh air.”