War documentary reflects the human experience during WWI

They Shall Not Grow Old

FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre press release – They Shall Not Grow Old brings to life the realities for those that fought in the First World War. Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) presents the Great War in a breathtaking new light.

Utilizing more than 600 hours of archived videos from the Imperial War Museums, the filmmaker brings to life the unknown truths and uncertainties which the soldiers faced. They Shall Not Grow Old screens at The Film House on Saturday, Nov. 9/2019, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 10/2019, at 4:00 p.m.

Applying state-of-the-art technology to footage that is more than 100 years old, the film was transformed and brought to life from black and white footage, revealing never-before-seen details. The film makes use of first-hand audio testimonies from survivors, leaving the film narration-free.

Jackson’s team digitally restored footage that was originally captured by hand-cranking camera operators who were occasionally under fire. The original footage was shot between 10 to 18 frames per second.

For Jackson, colourization is the icing on the cake, the real task was carefully filling in frame gaps, removing damage from the footage, and ensuring that the soldiers in the film move at normal human speed. Jackson’s team hired forensic lip-readers to discern dialogue in the footage so it could be recorded and paired with sound for optimal authenticity.

Inspired by his own personal interest in the First World War, Jackson wanted to present the day-to-day experiences of the soldiers in the war. The film is intended to reflect “the human experience,” revealing the stories which are oftentimes overlooked in history books and documentaries. Shining light on the soldiers’ attitudes towards conflict, their lives away from the trenches, what they ate, how they slept and how friendships were formed ultimately tells their untold story.

“They were dealing with the same hardships, eating the same crappy food, in the same freezing conditions, and they felt a sort of empathy,” Jackson said. “They were there because their governments told them to be there.”

In the spirit of remembrance on the centenary of the end of the First World War, catch one of the screenings of They Shall Not Grow Old at The Film House on Saturday, Nov. 9/2019, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 10/2019, at 4:00 p.m. Click on firstontariopac.ca for tickets or visit the box office in-person at 250 St. Paul Street or call the box office: 905-688-0722.