Despite the new World War II drama Darkest Hour now playing in theaters nationwide, “Who was Winston Churchill?” still sounds like a question you’re likely to find on one of those ‘the dumbing down of America has happened’ videos. While Churchill may not have been American, himself, his influence and importance in the events of the mid-20th Century cannot be overstated. Winston Churchill was elected Britain’s Prime Minister in 1940, a position he held throughout the remainder of World War II and again from 1951 to 1955. Before his career in politics he had worked as a writer and served as a member of the British Army. His election in 1940 came at a time when Britain’s, and indeed the future of the whole of Western Europe was uncertain. Hitler had been elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and, by the time of Churchill’s election, was already marching across France, pushing British forces to the shores of the English Channel, where the famous evacuation at Dunkirk took place (if you haven’t seen Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, I highly recommend it!).
With the United States still hesitant to enter the war effort in either Europe or the Pacific, the newly appointed Prime Minister was faced with the choice of either regrouping and rallying national support to continue the war effort against Nazi Germany, or agreeing to sign a peace accord with Hitler and the Axis Powers. As the United Kingdom stood at the brink of invasion, it was up to Churchill to persuade Parliament, King George VI, and the people of Britain that the war could be won and that it was worth fighting, an extremely difficult prospect considering the ever-growing influence of Nazi Germany and the reluctance of the United States to enter the war. Continue reading →
One of our favorite film festivals here at MADE, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), is kicking off its 2017 festivities this week. Known for its wide range of genres, independent films, and documentaries, TIFF is the unofficial audition for the annual film-awards season that wraps with the Academy Awards celebrations every February. This years entries are no exception. Some of the more anticipated showings are documentaries surrounding Grace Jones (Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami), Barack Obama (The Final Year), and Lady Gaga (Gaga: Five Foot Two), as well as an under-the-radar entry from comedian Louis CK (I Love You, Daddy) that will appear in black and white. As always there is a plethora of noteworthy entries, so many, in fact, that it seems impossible to filter out a ‘most anticipated’ list.
Forrest Gump was first published as a novel in 1986 by author Winston Groom. The book was then adapted into the award winning film by director Robert Zemeckis and actor Tom Hanks in 1994, in what is probably his most famous role to date. The story follows Forrest Gump, a southern man with an IQ of 75, and his lifelong friend Jenny Curran as they live out the course of their lives in the turbulent latter half of twentieth century America. Beginning in the 1950s with Elvis Presley and the early Civil Rights demonstrations, Forrest goes on to play college football, become a war hero in Vietnam, go to China as an international ping-pong player, and run across the United States for 3 years, ending up in the 1980s and the Reagan administration.
The movie costars Gary Sinise, Robin Wright, and Sally Field, and features appearances by some noteworthy historical figures such as JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George Wallace, Dick Cavett, John Lennon, and Abbey Hoffman thanks to the film’s award winning visual effects. Hanks’ portrayal of the character won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, but his adaptation was much softer than the author originally envisioned. The movie won 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Film Editing and Visual Effects. Since it was first released in 1994 the movie has become a cultural phenomenon and is known as one of Tom Hanks most famous roles. Hanks and Zemeckis reunited for Cast Away in 2000, which also earned Hanks another Oscar nomination. Forrest Gump will turn 20 years old this July, so be sure to celebrate sometime this year.