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Darkest Hour (2017)


17th November 2018

We were happy to welcome several new faces for this film which generated an audience of 63 - although thick overcoats made it look more ! After showing a trailer for the next film we watched two short documentary films shot in the 1940s by Pathe News: one, a spotlight on Winston Churchill as he received a painting to make hi 80th birthday, something he referred to a a 'remarkable example of modern art'; then what was clearly a propaganda film that showed us the nation preparing for war. The programme directed that we went straight into the main feature, it being more than 2 hours long. However technical difficulties that had not manifested during the pre-film rehearsal caused our projectionist to suggest an early interval while the problem was resolved. Having been refreshed with mulled wine, ice cream, and delicious clementine cake, we watched a month in the life of the Government being led my Winston Churchill. This was then dissected by a discussion group who stayed on later than usual exchanging views. Another excellent evening. Eugene.

Fire Fought with Fire It was news to me that Churchill wasn't the loved, cigar smoking, national hero many of us have been led to believe. I knew that his wife had burned the portrait painted by Sutherland in order to preserve the ideal image of him. Sutherland saw the worn, exhausted, defiancy in Churchill and reported it through paint. Winston, like someone else we know in current events, couldn't bear to reckon with anything less than an impeccable image of himself. We saw this in the short film, a news report of Churchill accepting the portrait as a gift from Parliament, that he considered the occasion "the greatest ever bestowed to anyone". Ever. A telling moment captured in the archives of an intemperate ego. "He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle." Inspiration? Propaganda? The discussion group agreed that whichever was the case, Churchill was the right man for the job. It would take an ego maniac to defeat an ego maniac. The film showed us who really saved the day in those darkest hours; The British people, represented in a fabricated scene on a London Underground train. Superb performance all around. Karen Gardner

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