Some friends and I decided to view some films that had been created from short fiction, first reading the book then meeting to view and watch the film together. Tonight was the first night and by complete coincidence we chose a film that featured Armistice – or to be more precise, a story set just after the first world war, with the main character and supporting character being young soldiers just back from the trenches.
The film was made in 1989 from a beautiful little novella by JL Carr, and stars a very young Colin Firth as Birkin, with Kenneth Branagh as Moon and Natasha Richardson as Alice, the vicar’s wife. It tells the story of Birkin’s recovery from the worst of his war-induced twitch, stammer and night terrors, as he spends a month in the country uncovering an old wall painting in the church. The work itself absorbs and speaks to him, as do the villagers who give him a warm and practical welcome. There’s nothing sentimental about the story, either in the book or the film; but it’s beautiful and hopeful, and makes a lovely counterpoint to all the more formal Armistice events we have reflected on today.
Sadly I’m having trouble with my graphics tonight so can’t include a picture for you to enjoy. Sorry. Do read the book, though, it’s only 80 pages and we all loved it. And get the film if you can. It’s a faithful adaptation. Very inspiring for those of us who write short stories.