Yesterday on Remembrance Sunday the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley screened Hidden Heroes along with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.
If you haven’t seen Colonel Blimp then you are missing one of the best British films ever made. Don’t take my word for it check out this article by Roger Ebert.
I haven’t seen Colonel Blimp for a long time. I think I first saw it over 20 years ago – most likely on a Saturday afternoon on BBC2. Many of the best movies I’ve seen have been found by chance and viewed in this way.
Watching it on Sunday on a big screen, in a beautifully restored version I was struck with just how modern the film seems and how sophisticated its depiction of people and war is.
If you have a few quid to spare order this film today. The new restoration is wonderful and really shows off the Technicolour cinematography, but even getting an older DVD copy is worth it – you can’t keep a good film down. Some DVDs even pair it with A Matter of Life or Death. An incredible double bill – cinematic heaven. For under a fiver.
Seeing Hidden Heroes at one of my favourite cinemas was a real joy. I must say a big thank you to the Phoenix Cinema for screening the film.
And for me watching it on Remembrance Sunday the scene of the soldier on the Western Front really hit home. The small trench and no man’s land model that Yusuf fashioned from cardboard, wire and plastacine and the lighting that Felix animated when we filmed it, combined with the sound of distant gunfire manage to capture in a small way the bleakness of the situation that so many soldiers found themselves in.
From the blood-soaked trenches of the Somme and Gallipoli, to the deserts and heat of Africa and the Middle East, thousands of Sikh troops fought and died alongside their European and colonial counterparts in the Great War of 1914-1918.
This landmark exhibition introduces their story through remarkable written accounts of their experiences and achievements, rarely-seen imagery, and extraordinary archive film and sound recordings.
Wonderful images on the panels, echo scenes and themes depicted in Hidden Heroes.
There was also an illustration of soldiers on a dangerous mission in No Man’s Land, and a photograph of a young Indian bride.
Far from the Western front is still looking for volunteers to help with their project if you are interested then please contact Eleanor@asiancentre.co.uk
I was particularly taken with an image of a hand written letter that sent to a soldier from India. The text is a beautiful graphic design in its own right.
Hidden Heroes has won Into Films ‘Film of the Month’ award. Into Film is an Education charity supported by the British Film Institute, that puts film at the heart of children and young people’s learning.
The judges said of the film:
An informative and really well-animated film with a great selection of music and narrative that enhanced the theme. I liked the different camera shots and the use of dim lighting and colours to capture the sombre mood. A really unique way of telling an unknown war story with a professional feel to it! Into Film judge Tarah Patel, Programme Coordinator
Very original (untold) story, beautifully crafted set design. Into Film judge Arzzita Nash, Partnerships Assistant
The young people involved in making the film also won £100 worth of Amazon vouchers and an Into Film goody bag and the film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members and included on Into Film’s YouTube/Vimeo Channels.