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Guest mark taylor

Officer's Ward - Marc Dugain

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Guest mark taylor

I've recently read this and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Great War novels.

Anyone else read this and can anyone suggest other, modern novels dealing with the Great War?

Thanks

Mark

1891_England_Census.txt

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Theo

Yes, I've read it. A very short novel but well worth a read.

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sandyford

Mark

I wonder if this book was made into a film. I saw a film (subtitled) with this title on television about the time when the BBC were doing the Great War in about 24 episodes last year sometime.

It was a very moving film.

I thought that it was also quite an old film and so I had imagined that the book must be out of print. Is your copy old or a reprint?

Kate

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Guest mark taylor

Thanks for that!

I'll try getting a copy.

Mark

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Guest mark taylor

kate

The copy of the book that I have was written in 2000/ 2001.

I think it is still available.

Well worth a read.

Mark

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sandyford

Thanks Mark

I will certainly try to get hold of a copy.

Kate

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Dragon

The film is called La Chambre des Officiers [The Officers’ Ward] and was released in 2002. It’s subbed in English.

I saw it in a small alternative [‘left-bank’] cinema and was very moved by it, especially knowing that it’s basically a true story. It really made me think about self perception and how our images of ourselves are influenced by our appearance, especially as it’s Adrien’s face which is shattered. The moment when he sees the mirror… real tear-making stuff, especially as it’s also the first time we too see his face. Up to that point he’s only seen the hideous monsters he is surrounded by – the other maimed men (and later a woman) who show spirit and vibrancy, loving and caring despite the horrors in their bodies. Adrien’s unflinching personal strength in eventually rejecting suicide and facing the world affected me greatly.

I think it would appear older than it is because of the attention to detail. Is it shot in sepia? I can’t quite remember.

It makes you think about what we as society assess as character and beauty. Is it facial and bodily or do we affirm the nobility of other human beings regardless of visual interference?

You can find a review on the UK film e-zine Shadows on the Wall at http://shadowsonthewall.co.uk ; search the archives.

I have also read the book and would recommend both unreservedly. They are stored in a little permanent niche in my mind and I reflect on them periodically. They are the kind of creative pieces which change your thinking.

Gwyn

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sandyford

Yes Gwyn. The film made a big impression on me too.

I can't be sure but think it must have been shot in sepia to have given the feeling of an old film. On the other hand the first telly I watched was black and white and I never really noticed this until a neighbour got colour telly.

As you say, although the setting of the film was WW1 the problems depicted are general and contemporary.

Many of the soldiers wounded in WW1 had a worse battle to go through with themselves and with society as a whole, in living the rest of their lives with their wounds physical and mental.

Also the post war time was economically very difficult with shortage of jobs and money.

It sounds as though I am describing the film as very downbeat but to me the message was of realism and hope.

Kate

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Guest mark taylor

I think that the whole story is a story of hope and survival through both physical and psychological adversity.

The simplicity of Dugain's writing set against the complexities of human nature result in a powerful and yes, extemely moving story.

I found this more moving than Birdsong, although I'm not too sure whether or not the two can be compared. What do others think?

Also, I understand that there is another great novel out there - "la tendresse".

Has anyone read this?

Mark

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Dragon
Also, I understand that there is another great novel out there - "la tendresse".

By?

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