In collaboration with York Explore and with City Screen and with massive thanks to Gary Craig who has put the whole thing together, York Alternative History Group is co-organising a programme of films offering critical perspectives on World War One, one of a series of events acknowledging the centenary of the five years of the so-called ‘war to end all wars’.
The series asks how should we remember the First World War? Was it a just war against the militarism of Germany and its allies? A war between imperial powers fighting to extend their economic reach? An accident from which no combatant country was able to extricate itself? What we do know is that the outcomes were disastrous. Millions of dead, economies and nation states destroyed, a rewriting of the map of, in particular, Central and Eastern Europe (leading to the rise of fascism in German and Italy) and the Middle East (generating the turbulence and massive loss of life in, especially, Iraq, Syria and Palestine), and, of course, the Second World War, which extended the combat to become a truly global conflict. How do we remember the courage of those many who refused to participate?
YAH hopes to raise some of these questions through its events. This is an opportunity to challenge common perceptions and some myths, and discuss and debate other perspectives than those of government.
Accompanying most of the film screenings, York Explore will be displaying material including maps and photographs illustrating the impact that the war had on the residents of York, plus a brief talk to introduce the film and our wider programme of work. YAH hope to show films in future providing perspectives from some of the other major combatants (Germany, Turkey, Russia, USA).
A full list of the film screenings, with further details and booking arrangements are available in the City Screen Picture House brochures.
4 AUGUST – A NIGHT AT THE CINEMA 1914
A compilation of short films, illustrating the context of the time: what 1914 felt like in the UK).
7 SEPTEMBER – PATHS OF GLORY
Kubrick’s anti-war statement in which a group of French soldiers revolt against a suicidal mission and are pursued by their corrupt superiors who demand their punishment.
5 OCTOBER – WINGS
An action film about early aviators: a humanist exploration of the devastating results of war. Winner of the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture.
20 OCTOBER 5pm – LE GRANDE ILLUSION
Renoir’s first masterpiece is one of the greatest anti-war statements in cinema, a portrait of prisoners of war attempting to escape.
11 NOVEMBER (Armistice Day)
A special related film screening, further details to be announced shortly.
24 NOVEMBER 4.30pm – OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR This famous anti-war satire thinly veils the horror of the war in song and dance routines performed by pierrots who regularly tot up the dead on a scoreboard.