HISTORICAL VIDEO ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK
Just For Today
We’ve covered plenty of First World War terrain thus far, so no point stopping now.
Pete Fountain is an artist from New Zealand who shows his Kiwi ancestors on the front lines.
Diagnosis: Seems like a pretty good look at the Great War, if a tad formulaic. Nothing we haven’t seen before, and with some searching about the actual plot, but good nonetheless. There’s the trademark photo of a loved one far, far away, combined with lyrical rumination from inside the trenches, liquid courage/therapy, and the call to go over the top into no man’s land.
New Zealand had one of the highest casualty and death rates of any First World War belligerent. Nearly 10 per cent of the entire population served overseas as soldiers and nurses. They fought in various locations, from the Western Front to the infamous, disastrous Gallipoli campaign overseen by a young(er) Winston Churchill*. The rate of acoustic ballad-per-trench remains a notoriously difficult variable to calculate.
Note: Their epaulets contain the initials “NZR,” which I suppose would stand for New Zealand Regiment. I can’t find evidence that this acronym was actually used — though in all fairness, I haven’t probed deep into the history books on the one.
*Not only does Gallipoli hold a major place in the consciousness of Australia and Zealand, it also left Churchill convinced that amphibious landings were a ticket to nowhere. He tried to delay the D-Day operation and shift Allied focus to the Mediterranean and special operations. Stalin, fighting an ideological war of annihilation on the Eastern Front, was unsympathetic to Churchill’s emotional baggage and demanded that his allies invade the continent, lest he consider a separate peace with Germany. These elements could have been worked into the video, were Pete Fountain to have added a seven-minute bridge. I would have also appreciate some David Bowie dream sequences.