Essential War Epics Collection

29/09/2008
  |  Buy to Own: 29/09/2008
  |  405 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC

Synopsis

An international selection of war films. In 'Assembly' (2007), set during and after the Chinese civil war, Gu Zidi (Hanyu Zang), captain of the Ninth Company of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), leads his 46 men into one of the bloodiest battles of the Huaihai Campaign in 1948. His orders are to fight the Nationalist Army (KMT) until he hears the bugle call for retreat. After the ammunition runs out and his men are dropping like flies, the bugle has still not sounded. When his dying lieutenant insists that he has heard the call, Gu is still not convinced and orders his remaining men to fight on. Waking in hospital a few days later he has lost his identity papers. With no other survivors from his company, the 46 men who gave up their lives are simply listed as missing. Determined to prove his men's bravery, the captain embarks on a journey in search of the truth about the bugle call. In 'Days of Glory' (2007), director Rachid Bouchareb depicts the plight of the North African troops enlisted to fight in the French army between 1943 and 1945. Despite the fact that the four young Arabs around whom the story centres have, in effect, been called up by one colonial oppressor to fight another, they say goodbye to their families in Algeria, Morocco and Senegal and willingly step forward to take up their arms. But all find themselves shockingly discriminated against by bigots within the French army, and deprived of the few rights and privileges to which new recruits are entitled. In 'Saints and Soldiers' (2003), when German troops open fire on unarmed American prisoners of war, they provoke the historic Malmedy Massacre. Four US survivors, trapped behind enemy lines, discover a stranded RAF pilot who holds the key to German intelligence which could save thousands of American lives. The five men must battle through the bitter winter landscape to smuggle their precious cargo from the clutches of the enemy. Finally, in 'Overlord' (1975), an eighteen-year old boy (Brian Stirner) who is called up into service, in early 1944, and, after undertaking his training for the invasion, is subsequently killed in the D-Day landings. The film includes actual newsreel footage of the Normandy landings.