THE PITY OF WAR : POETS AT THE FRONT DVD REVIEW

The story of the First World War or The Great War as it was known at the time, has been navigated and extracted from, since its end in 1918. There have been films, novels, Non fiction books, plays and more. Often the exploration of the war come in the analysis of the trenches, its psychological effects on combatants and how conditions left deep scars. This resonated in our collective conscious but often only post the events.

Poetry was front and centre as agent of record and rebellion during the war. Well at least according to THE PITY OF WAR : POETS AT THE FRONT, a documentary from Odyssey pictures. Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were two of the major contributors to the form. Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est is still taught today. Sassoon, A Soldiers Declaration underlines the feelings in the trenches of 1917.

Sassoon was almost called to a court martial for the poem. After some friends pulled strings, he was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital, a convalescents home.  War poets worked together, Owen and Sassoon met while both there and they connected. One guided the other and so it built works of art that resonant to this day.  Of course the documentary runs over everything. It calls up well schooled and respected experts. Sometimes insightful, often academic, the documentary is easy enough to sit through but will not extrapolate more than its 48 minutes require. I would say personally that for an A Level class, Student of history or English literature it is ideal.

 

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