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Johnny got his gun


Few films have left me so moved and shocked. I saw this film in passing, perhaps twice when I was in my teens. Half-hearted attempts to give it a name failed until I clicked through an IMDB list this morning. It is gripping, moving and wonderfully told. You can never again lie awake in bed at night and not imagine how you would cope with such a nightmare. It poses so many questions about what it means to be alive, violent conflict, war, nursing and treatment and the right to live or die – even the 21st century question of what defines ‘to be alive’ and ways today to communicate through brain wave activity when there is nothing else to monitor. This should be seen by anyone with an interest in the First World War alongside documentaries, thrillers, romances and comedy about conflict on this scale. Indeed if you have an interest in any conflict that results in lasting, significant maiming without death then this is a story to read and view. It questions what it means to be alive and whether we or others have a position when it comes to letting us live or die.

An odd poster which totally misrepresents the story. Without arms or legs, without any senes at all or ways to communicate – yet aware and able to feel the sun on what is left of his face.

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