AVEC NOS GARS A L'YSER - Cinéma de propagande et Première Guerre mondiale

By : Clemens De Landtsheer

Belgique, PAL, LIVRE - DVD - 83 min
toutes zones,

Not available for sale now

English title: WITH OUR TROOPS ON THE YSER, film propaganda and the First World War
Original title: MET ONZE JONGENS AAN DEN LJZER / AVEC NOS GARS A L'YSER - Cinéma de propagande et Première Guerre mondiale

Directed by : Clemens De Landtsheer

Belgium, PAL, Book - DVD - 83 min
all zones

Languages : Dutch
Subtitles & navigation : English, French, Dutch

Feature film 83'

Extras :
Audio commentary by Bruno Mestdagh, Daniël Biltereyst, Roel Vande Winkel and Leen Engelen, 87'
10TH YSER PILGRIMAGE (Clemens De Landtsheer, 1930, 12')
WINTER HAS COME – ICE FESTIVITIES AT TEMSE (Clemens De Landtsheer, 1933-1934, 5')
JULES VAN HEVEL TRIBUTE (Clemens De Landtsheer, 1935, 9')
CLEMENS DE LANDTSHEER, Short documentary by Daniël Biltereyst, Roel Vande Winkel and Erik Martens, 25'

This reissue of WITH OUR TROOPS ON THE YSER is extremely well produced. The film itself was expertly restored by the Royal Belgian Film Archive, and includes numerous extras, such as a biography of Landtsheer and a beautiful--and improbably absorbing--short film by him of people skating and cavorting in a snowy winter landscape. It will certainly be of interest to anyone studying media and the use of propaganda during and after the Great War. WITH OUR TROOPS ON THE YSER is sometimes clumsy and lacks the polish of the films of the next decade, but one can see glimpses of cinema's future. Some of the film's best footage, of airplanes soaring above the clouds, anticipates that most infamous of Nazi propaganda films, TRIUMPH OF THE WILL (Triumph des Willens, dir. Leni Riefenstahl, 1935). German historians, however, have another reason to watch this film; namely, because of what is missing. The Germans make infrequent appearances, and are referred to only a handful of times as "the enemy". More striking still, the German occupation of Belgium goes all but unmentioned. That Landtsheer did not address Germany's role in World War I is probably due to the uncomfortable history of those Flemish nationalists who cooperated with the occupiers. The Germans, after all, offered Flemings the cultural privileges they had sought in vain from the Walloons. The film is thus all the more significant for historians as the German occupation of Belgium becomes an object of increasing scholarly attention. Although undoubtedly a difficult and gruesome film for any audience, WITH OUR TROOPS ON THE YSER's silences and omissions mark it as a key historical document of the First World War and its ambiguous cultural and political legacy for Belgium.