Colours of Remembrance

Over the course of Period One, students watched an interview about an astonishingly emotive film titled ‘They shall not grow old’ made by Director, Peter Jackson, who is most well known as director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises.

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ is a truly incredible commemoration to all the brave soldiers from World War 1; it reminds us all of how we shouldn’t and will never forget the sacrifices they made.

Jackson has taken the old silent, black and white, raw footage of real events from the trenches and brought them to life by colourising them with the remarkable cinematic effects we have today. He used forensic lip readers and voice actors to capture the regional accents particular to each regiment, thus making the film more genuine and authentic and giving us a sense that we can hear those lost voices from the past.

Jackson wanted to portray the real lives of these soldiers, not just tell a generic story about war. His aim was to show that these men, often seen in the grey grainy images of WW1 that are so common to us, were more than just soldiers. These men were sons, fathers, brothers, friends, people– who deserve to be remembered. They were people who found time to enjoy each others’ company and entertain each other with jokes, music and companionship as well as being men who missed their families and their homes and who feared what the next day would bring. Jackson said ‘I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more’.

In our tutor groups we drew inspiration from the film and created our own pieces of art work, inspired by these reinvigorated images. We took black and white photographs of the trenches and soldiers and added colour to them. We shared Jackson’s motivation to reach across the century and breath life into these old images.  We feel this recognition of the individuality and humanity of the soldiers  is a very important and poignant message that people should be aware of. Surely this is the true meaning of Remembrance.

The art pieces will be used to create an artistic  war memorial here at Joseph Swan Academy to signify 100 years since the end of the Great War in 1918.

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ can be seen in cinemas and on BBC2 at 9:30pm on Sunday at 9:30pm.

Written by Rosie,

Edited by Faith.