'They Shall Not Grow Old': Peter Jackson's WWI film to premiere at BFI London Film Festival in October
'The Lord of the Rings' director says he is looking forward to telling the stories from the soldiers' perspective in the upcoming film
Peter Jackson is bringing back some rare footage of the First World War in his upcoming film 'They Shall Not Grow Old'. The film is supposed to be comprised of restored archive footage in their colorized versions and will premier at the BFI London Film Festival in October. Along with the Oscar-winning director, the film will be produced by Clare Olssen and edited by the Jabez Olssen ('Rogue One: A Star Wars Story', 'The Hobbit' franchise).
The newly colorized version has been created in 3D, reproducing around 100-year-old footage from the Imperial War Museum's vast collection as Jackson uses modern technology to give the film its sharp and refined look. The film will also contain voices of some of the war veterans that were recorded during the 50s and 60s.
'The Lord of the Rings' director says that he is looking forward to telling the stories from the soldiers' perspective. "I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world so they can regain their humanity once more – rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film."
Jackson makes it clear that the power of technology has been utilized to its fullest in order to overcome the technical limitations of the old footage, and says that people can now "see and hear the Great War as they experienced it”. Jackson explains, "It amazes me what some of these people or some of these veterans... I mean, I had never heard their interviews before. They go about it in a way that's surprising." He said that most people have a cliched version of the war build up in their heads and "100 years later, we have made up our mind of what these wars were like."
Jackson indicates that it might come as a surprise to know about how the men lived through the war, "What they had to live with, what they would, how they would sleep at night, how they coped with the fear." Jackson has merged this genuine sense of fear among the soldiers with extremely sharp images and footage of the war that is backed up with the actual voices of the veterans.
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival artistic director, explained, "Peter’s film offers a new understanding of the human experience of life at the front. Using original audio and moving image archive, he allows the soldiers to tell their own stories. The work his team has done on the materials, adding color and converting to 3D, is painstaking and beautiful. It makes these people from 100 years ago seem so alive and gives an uncanny sense that the footage was shot recently.”
Watch Peter Jackson's take on the film below.