The Lost movie of the week: Gallipoli (1981)

World War I has always fascinated filmmakers for its sacrifices, heroism, stupidity and loses. One of the most famous battles is the one for Gallipoli where the alliances let by the United Kingdom fought against the Ottoman Empire.

Two Australian sprinters face the brutal realities of war when they are sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.

Peter Weir knows how to direct emotional and powerful dramas. His films are layered and complex. Weir has the ability to always get the best performance from his actors. Weir slowly destroys the image of the “Great War” in the minds of the young soldiers and shows the futility of battle and the loss of innocence . He created a warm and sensible anti-war film that still resonates to this day. The film has beautifully shot set pieces and well-paced action scenes using almost 700 extras for the battle scenes.

The film was produced by the new company created at the time by Rupert Murdoch and Robert Stigwood, Associated R&R Films. Lovell, the producer of “Gallipoli” convinced them to produce this film with a final budget of $2.8 million. This was the highest budget of an Australian film to date.  Murdoch got interested by the project because his father, Keith Murdoch, was a journalist during the First World War. After visiting Gallipoli in September 1915, he became one of the voices against the strategy and tactics of the British army.

The two main characters are played extremely well by Mel Gibson and Mark Lee. They are the heart of the film bringing the innocence (and the loss) and hope (shattered dreams) of the characters to life.

This film is part of the Australian New Wave cinema that started at the beginning of the 80s. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.


Stanley Berenboom

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