Fires Were Started (1943)
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Fires Were Started has no stock footage. However, it is similar to such in that an ignorant 1990s eye risks being unable to see through the strangeness of 1940s Britain to the lives and tensions portrayed in this film. Fires Were Started is a witty, poetic account of the war effort understood as the acts of everyday Londoners. You can work hard watching it dissecting the poetic sequences of imagery; you can take it easy and enjoy the people we meet or you can follow the exciting narrative of 24 hours during the bombing of London. Poetry.
Documentary style propaganda film by Humphrey Jennings. Follows the story of civilian firefighters in London during the Blitz. We see all the horrors close hand. The firefighters are portrayed as hard working heroes, which they are. The cast were all real firemen, not actors, so it certainly feels real even though they were actually reconstructions.
Overall a brilliant, memorable look at the period and events.
The build-up is dreadfully dull, but things get cooking (*snicker*) once the actual firefighting starts. Then there's some excitement and a few really great shots, especially of the aftermath. Pretty good editing, too. But most of the dialogue is muffled, competing with the background noise/music, or obscured by heavy accents. The boring first act really drags my score down, and the rest of it wasn't impressive enough to make up for that, but in general the film was okay.
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