My grandparents' war dir. by Francis Hanly, Chris Walker, Laura Nash
This brilliant documentary follows four famous actors in search of their grandparents’ involvement in World War II. Helena Bonham Carter’s paternal grandmother Violet was the daughter of British Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith and herself a fervent Liberal. She was a brilliant orator and endorsed numerous causes. We hear how she looked after the civilians during the Blitz bombing in London and helped refugees. Her maternal grandfather was the Spanish diplomat Eduardo Propper de Callejón, who was the consul of Spain in Bordeaux during the war. His professional deontology was tested when he decided to deliver visas to the numerous Jewish refugees who wanted to flee France. Carey Mulligan’s grandfather Denzil Booth was a radar engineer on the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable when a Japanese kamikaze pilot crashed into the ship with his plane, but he survived. Kristin Scott Thomas’s grandfather William Scott Thomas was a Royal Navy officer, captain on the HMS during the battle of Dunkirk and he also escorted Russian Arctic convoys, on the worst route in the world. Mark Rylance’s grandfather Osmond Skinner was a banker in Hong Kong when he enlisted in the army. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese and held in a camp for nearly four years. All these remarkable people didn’t speak to their families about their war experiences and this generation discovers another aspect of someone they thought they knew. This film is very lively because the actors travel to the destinations (of the past battles), meeting witnesses who were in contact with the deceased during their wartime service and very knowledgeable war historians.