Hope and Glory

Director: John Boorman

U.K.| 1987. Colour. Dolby stereo. 112 mins.

Boorman’s most autobiographical and affectionate film, showing us the British home front during World War II not as the conventional locus of austerity, sacrifice, blood, sweat, toil and tears but, through the enchanted eyes of a nine-year-old boy, as a glorious adventure playground and a permanent excuse for bunking off school. War as a childhood idyll? Yes, and not only for children: with Dad away in the army, the young hero’s mother and teenage sister start enjoying their new-found freedoms. Taking evident delight in his exactly-detailed period reconstruction, Boorman created the largest-ever exterior standing set in the history of British cinema to represent the family’s suburban street. And when the bombed-out family move to Grandad’s house by the river at Shepperton (right by the studios, foreshadowing the young Boorman’s future career), the idyll takes on a nostalgic sheen of pastoral poetry.

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