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GALLIPOLI

Starring: Documentary film – narrated by Jeremy Irons and Sam Neill
Director: and written by Tolga Ornek
Rated: PG

It is often said that the victors write history. And while this remains largely true, at least in Australia and New Zealand, the story of the Gallipoli battle has been told by the vanquished – us.

This fine new documentary goes some way to redressing the imbalance.

Written, produced and directed by leading Turkish film-maker Tolga Ornek, it is praiseworthy on every level, but most especially for its evenhandedness.

Ornek simply tells the gruesome story of that ill-fated campaign from neither side, but from the standpoint of the human beings on both sides of that tragic peninsula.

Gallipoli follows eight stories of men who were there.

We accompany three Turks, two Brits, two Australians, and a New Zealander. Their letters home provide much of the narrative.

The re-creations of the front-line are especially effective. There is not an actor in sight, but the art director, sound designer, set dresser and composer have all done a monumental job in enabling the audience to glimpse the hell that was life at the front line.

Given that the Gallipoli story forms such an integral part of our national mythology, this film is not just for students and their teachers, but it is a must-see for all of us.

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