Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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A War Story

Directed by Anne Wheeler
Canada, 1982 (documentary / fiction, 82 minutes, black and white, English)
A War Story
Photo © National Film Board of Canada
Video (National Film Board of Canada)

Film Description:
"'How little a list of casualties tells the real story of war.' Based on the diaries of Canadian doctor Ben Wheeler during his internment in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, this feature docudrama is not a 'war story' in the conventional sense of strategy and battles, but rather a glowing account of the spirit and its will to survive physical and mental suffering. Newsreel footage of the fall of Singapore (where Major Wheeler was captured) has been interwoven with dramatic reconstructions of scenes inside the mining camp and interviews with survivors."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Description [in French] :
"Documentaire dramatique inspiré du journal du père de la réalisatrice, le docteur Ben Wheeler, pendant sa période de détention dans un camp japonais."
-- Jana Vosikovska (source)


Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Anne Wheeler
Produced by: Tom Radford, Anne Wheeler, Michael Scott
Principal Cast: David Edney, Frank C. Turner, Doug Kier, Doug Bagot, W. Forrest Macdonald, Patrick McGuigan, Dean Stoker, Alan Stebbings, Gerry Whelpton, Tom Whitton, Cecil Grinstead, Rodrigue Deschênes
Narrator: Donald Sutherland, Anne Wheeler
Cinematography: Robert Nichol, Ron Orieux
Film Editing: Ray Harper
Music: Maurice Marshall
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada
(sources)

Notes about A War Story

(sources)

Quote by the Director

"I felt the limitations of documentary filmmaking with A War Story. Often you are bound by your research and personal connections. I felt protective of my parents. And when I took a group of men back to where the camp had been, I felt exploitive. [...] It was horrendous what they had endured, and now I was forcing them to relive what they had spent most of their lives trying to forget."
-- Anne Wheeler (source)

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