The Long March To Freedom
- Director:Stephen Saunders
- Release Date:June 06, 2012
- The Film:4.0
“...well-made and affecting...”
In the harsh winter of 1945, as the vast Russian army chewed into Germany's eastern flank, some 300,000 Allied prisoners of war were forced by their German captors to march westward, ahead of the advancing forces of liberation. This three part British documentary tells their story. It's a detailed and deliberate piece, tracing the tale of a number of P.O.W.s from their initial inadequate basic training, through to their capture and incarceration, and their subsequent gruelling forced slog across occupied Poland.
The film combines voiceover, old photos, archival footage and the occasional re-enactment to tell its story, but the most valuable and emotionally resonant component remains the fist-person accounts of a number of veterans, all of whom are interviewed in the standard talking head format. No amount of stentorian narration or grainy, black and white period film can match the emotional impact of these unassuming men telling their stories of heroism and horror in simple, unadorned language.
The combination of the gruelling subject matter and the long running time - not far short of two and a half hours - may test the endurance of some viewers, but this remains a well-made and affecting documentary.