Metropolis (1927)

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights

timothy-eberly-382663-unsplashFritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis was ground breaking in many ways. At the time, it was the most expensive German film ever made, costing over 5 million reichsmarks and taking 17 months to film, nearly financially capsizing the production studio, UFA. As one of the first feature length science fiction films ever made, Metropolis is an expansive story that is renowned even today for its extravagant scenery, art direction, cinematography and utilisation of German expressionist techniques. At its original run time of 153 minutes, it was one of the longest films made, contributing to its initial financial failure, as it required over four kilometres of film to run it, a weighty investment for any theatre. With the science fiction genre as we know it today still largely being defined in this era (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, often considered the first work of science fiction, was published in 1818), it was a difficult film to categorise and advertise. Indeed, an advertisement from New Zealand reads ‘See it! Try to describe it!’ Nonetheless, it has since become recognised as a highly influential film, becoming the first film to be inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2001, and is widely studied in schools today for both its historical context as part of the Weimar Republic, an example of early science fiction, German Expressionism and the utilisation of the silent film genre.

The film was accompanied by a novelisation, published in 1925 by director Fritz Lang’s then-wife and credited screenwriter, Thea von Harbou. However, it was the film that really made an impact, with many praising its technical prowess whilst simultaneously lambasting it as being overlong and overwrought. Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times called it “a technical marvel with feet of clay”, whilst renowned sci-fi author H.G Wells criticised the film as being rampant with “foolishness, cliché, platitude and muddlement about mechanical progress and progress in general.” Regardless of these criticisms, Metropolis has undoubtedly had an impact upon contemporary science fiction, with as film critic Roger Ebert stated “from this film in various ways, descended not only ‘Dark City’, but ‘Blade Runner’, ‘The Fifth Element’, ‘Alphaville’, Escape From L.A’, ‘Gattaca’ and Batman’s Gotham City… Rotwang created the visual look of mad scientists for decades to come, especially after it was mirrored in ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’… the device of the ‘false Maria’… inspired the ‘Replicants’ of ‘Blade Runner.’” It was one of the first examples of the dystopia / utopia theme in science fiction, something that has continued to be explored (e.g.: 1984, Brave New World, Never Let Me Go, The Matrix, etc.) and has seen a resurgence in recent years.

The film’s most famous quote, “the mediator between head and hands must be the heart” reverberates throughout the entire film, with Metropolis demonstrating a schism between the upper and lower classes. In this case it is literal, with the lower classes living underground and the upper classes living amongst the sprawling excess of the city, overshadowed by their monolithic buildings, which are a combination of the grandeur of Greco-Roman architecture and luxe, geometric (harking back to the streamlined appearance of machines) Art Deco. Indeed, the sets appear to dwarf the actors, with the machines and the structures taking visual precedence. This is exemplified when Freder imagines one of the machines as Moloch, a Canaanite god / idol that required child sacrifice that is referenced in Leviticus. This precedence of machines is rectified by the end of the film, but this also highlights Lang’s propensity for biblical allusions throughout the film- the tower of Babel, the idolatress of Babylon and the beast with seven heads, Maria as a virtuous Mary figure preaching to the workers, Freder as a Christlike mediator between above and below, the gardens as a reference to Eden, etc. This lends the story gravity and also helped in creating a grounding point for the audience, references that they were familiar with amongst the fantastical landscape Lang presented.

Metropolis was released during the ‘golden era’ of the Weimar Republic, a brief period of stability and prosperity in Germany, prior to World War II. With a permanent currency implemented in 1923 and the Dawes Plan in 1924, it sparked a cultural renaissance, born in the wake of World War I, the immense hyperinflation and the influence of the cultural development in the Soviet Union. Innovations in German cinema, literature, architecture (particularly Bauhaus), film, art and theatre came to the forefront, with a fascination with the ‘ultramodern’ in addition to the mediums of cabaret and jazz and an overall differentiation from more traditional German values- an influence that is certainly explored in Metropolis. There was a certain contention between the pull of traditional values versus the influence of globalisation and the influx of other cultures, particularly America (via American films and fashion), with Americanisation progressing largely due to the Dawes Plan.

German Expressionism was at its peak during this time, with Metropolis being a prime example. It was more concerned with the evocation of a particular mood and aimed to show a highly subjective view of the world, as compared to the strict realism and somewhat detached perspective of art and film previously. This internal perspective was highly effective and necessary in silent film, given the absence of audible dialogue. This was characterised by evocative lighting (particularly via chiaroscuro, obviously highlighting certain objects / characters and casting others in shadow) and utilising different camera angles and perspectives. In the post World War I environment, there was an increased fascination with the human psyche, madness and the question of identity, as life as most people knew it had been irrevocably shifted.

Metropolis is a highly influential film that is broadly studied today. Whether you are exclusively studying the film or the Weimar Republic, 20th century Germany, the development of silent film or the consolidation of the science fiction genre, it is an important piece of culture that is still highly relevant.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources in relation to this subject. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education, just search for the titles below on your site:

Metropolis (Movie 1927)

German Expressionism: Crash Course Film History #7

Fritz Lang Interviewed by William Friedkin (1974)

The Silent Era: Crash Course Film History #9

The History of Cinema- Silent Era

BBC Paul Mertons Weird and Wonderful World of Early Cinema

Generation War (Part One)

Dawes Plan

Ten Minute History- The Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany (Short Documentary)

The Great Depression: Crash Course US History #33

 

 

I Was There- The Great War Interviews

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights

stijn-swinnen-259744-unsplashI Was There- The Great War Interviews is a fantastic resource for students studying World War I. Extrapolating upon the original 1964 documentary series The Great War, this documentary provides a deeper look at the original collation of 280 eyewitness interviews, with never-before-seen footage of both soldiers and civilians. Thus, it provides invaluable insight into the behemoth that is WWI.

It is often easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of an event like WWI, whereas I Was There- The Great War Interviews offers a deeply personal perspective, with interviews from a broad range of primary sources, from celebrated author Mabel Lethbridge O.B.E, soldiers Sebastian C. Lang, Charles Carrington, Wilhelm Eisenthal, factory worker Katie Morter, and many more.  In addition to this, both the Allied and Central sides are represented, thus significantly minimising any inherent bias.

Whilst the overall strategic and historical outlines are not discussed in great detail, the documentary explores the human relations of the war, such as the methods of recruitment, be it women using white feathers to represent cowardice, propaganda posters, the utilisation of music hall stars like Vesta Tilley, pro-war effort music and film, etc., all designed to solicit enlistment. It also showcases the changing attitudes of towards the war, from the initial excitement and euphoria to the grim realisation of the horrors of the battlefield, with soldier Frank Brent stating that ‘…it (the war) required that we should live in animal conditions… inevitable that we would develop the animal characteristic of killing.’

Furthermore, the documentary successfully displays the disparity between soldiers and civilians, with former soldier Charles Carrington stating ‘one was seemingly annoyed by their (civilians) attempts to sympathise… which only really reflects that they didn’t understand at all’, whilst Mabel Lethbridge noted a ‘…a strange lack of ability to communicate… to tell us (civilians) what it was really like… They were restless at home… They didn’t want to stay home. They wanted to get back.’

The battlefield is displayed as a kind of microcosm, running from being ‘an inferno’, with the apparent need to ‘exact retribution’ from the enemy, to the Easter and Christmas armistices and the ‘deceptive peace’ that fraternisation with the enemy brought, with men singing together in the trenches, exchanging gifts and addresses for after the war.  The documentary aims to explore multiple facets of the human experience of the Great War, recognising that to focus on only one would be to vastly limit its representation of this vast moment in history.

I Was There- The Great War Interviews proves to be a deeply personal look at a time in history that has deeply rooted itself in our collective psyche. The utilisation of such a wide range of primary sources will certainly be of interest to students and assist in broadening their understanding of WWI.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources that can be used in relation to the topics covered in this post. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education just search for the titles below on your site.

I Was There- The Great War Interviews

Lest We Forget What- The Commemoration of WW1 and the ANZAC Legend

100 Years of ANZAC: The Spirit Lives 2014-2018, World War 1, Conscription (S01E21)

The Panzer

World War I’s Tunnels of Death- The Killing Fields (S01E01)

14 Diaries of the Great War- Into the Abyss (S01E01)

The War that Changed Us- Answering the Call (S01E01)

 

Shakespeare For Today

SmartLessons, Sophie's Tips, Tips and Tricks, Video Highlights

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William Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the greatest playwrights in history, and likely the best known. His work is still broadly studied and performed worldwide, more than four centuries after his death- so how has his work acquired a stereotype of being fusty, irrelevant and difficult to decipher?

Whether or not you are aware of it, Shakespeare’s work has cemented itself in the collective conscience of our society. For example, look at these common sayings and idioms: a foregone conclusion, a sea change, a sorry sight, dead as a doornail, all’s well that ends well, be all and end all, foul play, green eyed monster, hot-blooded, a charmed life, lie low, in a pickle, in stitches, I have not slept a wink, night owl, up in arms, woe is me, wild goose chase– the list goes on and on. What do these have in common? They were all originally coined by Shakespeare.

Perhaps one of the greatest errors in the study of his work is to concentrate solely upon the transcriptions of his plays: Shakespeare counted himself as a playwright, and thus his plays are designed to be performed to an audience as a visual medium, and not limited to the page. Given a performance of his work, the cadences of language and utilisation of techniques such as metaphor and iambic pentameter immediately become apparent to students, opening up the apparent barriers between our modern English and that of Shakespeare’s day. This allows students to better utilise their knowledge of the themes and motifs being explored within his work, rather than being bogged down by individual stanzas, without understanding the broader context of the act, or indeed the piece as a whole.

Indeed, perhaps the reason Shakespeare has been such an enduring influence upon our society is due to the commonality of the human experience that is explored within his work. Whether you are studying works as fanciful as the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream or the romance The Tempest, his histories or his tragedies, they are all rooted in the tribulations, the joys, the melancholy and the general experience of what it is to be human. Love, loss, revenge and political intrigue are all common threads within his work, and it is largely for this reason that Shakespeare has stood the test of time- think of any popular film, television series, book or popular culture phenomenon, past or present, and they will likely be grounded in at least one of these things. Shakespeare was considered a vastly accessible playwright in his time, with every class coming to view his work. To be accessible to so many, he had to tap into the commonality between them all.

Another common error in studying his work is to purely view Shakespeare’s work through our own 21st century lens, without consideration for the historical, social and political context in which he was writing in. The culmination of this is often a sense of isolation and irrelevance on the part of students, or a complete misrepresentation of the original themes, such as an overt attachment of colonialist overtones to The Tempest. Whilst the universality of his plays and the exploration of our current context is an important addition to any textual study, it is just as vitally important to hold in consideration the viewpoints and broader context that Shakespeare was writing in.

As has been established, it is a necessity to study Shakespeare using a range of methods and angles, in order to better consolidate our understanding and bring his work to life. Here at TV4Education, we have a vast collection of material to better assist with this. Be it the fantastic Shakespeare Uncovered series, that delves into the context that Shakespeare wrote the play in whilst also examining how it the work continues to evolve, its relevance in today’s society, and the different facets that are explored by different actors, productions and scholars; or Lenny Henry Finding Shakespeare, a witty, down-to-earth look at how Shakespeare was originally for everybody, how this has changed over time, and how to rectify this; or the numerous of productions of his work in our collection, from Richard II, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest and many more.

Whilst close study of the written text is an important facet, viewing Shakespeare in action and accessing  a variety of perspectives through the medium of multimedia will prove to be an invaluable tool and addition to the classroom. The amalgamation of these learning techniques will foster an increased appreciation of Shakespeare’s work, something that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Here’s a list of TV4Education resources that can be used in relation to the topics covered in this post. If you use the SmartSuite version of TV4Education just search for the titles below on your site.

Shakespeare Uncovered – Series

Lenny Henry Finding Shakespeare

The Taming of The Shrew

Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare Animated – Series

Horrible Histories Special Sensational Shakespeare

Othello

Hamlet

Insults by Shakespeare

Relates to Australian Curriculum Codes;

ACHAH070, ACDSEH059, ACELA1500, ACHHS070, ACHHS086, ACHHS124

The Record Breakers

Newsletters, Video Highlights

What does it mean to win Gold?

With the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics we wait in anticipation as we see if the limits of human ability is once again shattered.

The 4 minute mile was said to be impossible for humans, but since Roger Bannister showed that is was possible thousands even people still in high school have been able to achieve this.

We celebrate those who broke the records, some born with super human abilities and others who had super human dedication and drive. Share these stories with your students and tell them what some call impossible others are training to show it is.

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Cool Runnings (1993) The true story about four Jamaicans planning to compete as bobsled racers at the Winter Olympics

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Chariots Of Fire – (1982) Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Team USA celebrates "the Miracle on Ice"

MIRACLE (2014) Miracle tells the true story of Herb Brooks (Russell), the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

 

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Sporting Greats – Edwin Moses Edwin Moses won 107 consecutive finals, set the world record in the 400m hurdles event four times and won a gold medal at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics.

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Sporting Greats – Nadia Comaneci Nadia Comaneci winner of five Olympic gold medals at the 1976 and the 1980 Olympics and is the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event.

Want to view the full newsletter? Click HERE

Naidoc Week

Newsletters, Video Highlights

NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous communities but also in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces.

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First Australians – They Have Come To Stay

This landmark series chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia as never told before, from the perspective of its first people. It explores what unfolds when the oldest living culture in the world is overrun by the world’s greatest empire, and depicts the true stories of individuals – both black and white. The story begins in 1788 in Sydney with the friendship between an Englishmen, Governor Phillip, and a warrior, Bennelong.

Part 1 of 7

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art + soul – Home and Away

Art + Soul explores the diversity of Indigenous culture through three themes – home and away, dreams and nightmares and bitter and sweet. Drawing on key works from the Gallery’s collection, it reveals the myriad of contemporary artistic expressions that evidence the enduring heritage of Indigenous Australia, in all its diversity and complexity.

Part 1 of 3

Animated traditional stories explained by the Elders including the Dolphin NSW and the Wanka Manapulpa Minyma, WA
Animated traditional stories explained by the Elders including the Dolphin NSW and the Wanka Manapulpa Minyma, WA

 

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Manganinnie

Through Lyrical images, Manganinnie journeys across mountains towards the coast with Joanna, a white girl, in search of Manganinnie’s vanished tribe. The poignancy of this film derives from the Aboriginal woman’s gradual realization that her people and the tribal way of life are forever gone. It is the story of the Black Drive of 1830, the attempted genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines.

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Anzacs Remembering Our Heroes

Anzacs – Remembering our heroes is a series of 15 minute documentary specials, produced by NITV to pay tribute to the military efforts of Indigenous people.

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Colour Theory – Teho Ropeyarn

From the northernmost tip of far north Queensland, Teho Ropeyarn’s bold prints have traversed Australia, winning awards and representing the distinctive culture of the Torres Strait Islands.

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Lurujarri Dreaming

This beautifully crafted animated documentary retraces the Lurujarri Dreaming Trail from the Goolarabooloo community in the Western Kimberley region of Western Australia.

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Cleverman (s01e01)

A series of unexplained violent attacks in the city are blamed on the newly discovered ‘Hairypeople’, who have been living and passing among us, without our knowledge.

Part 1 of 6

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Songlines – Footprints

Footprints is a film of the story, dance and culture of the Djugun people that has been brought to life from the dirt after 50 years, handed back to the Djugun people from its caretaker Roy Wiggan

Part 1 of 12

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Jandamarra’s War

The story of an Australian Aboriginal man who should be as famous as Ned Kelly. In 1894, Jandamarra led a three year rebellion against invading pastoralists in defence of his people’s ancient land and culture.

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The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

Jimmie Blacksmith (Tommy Lewis), a man of half-Aboriginal ancestry, is pushed to the breaking point by the racist oppression perpetrated by the British in their rule of Australia in 1900, and by his inability to acclimate to Western culture. Raised in a white Christian family but never recognized by white individuals as their equal, Blacksmith undergoes frequent humiliations that provoke a violent response when he brutally murders his employer’s family.

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Walkabout (1971)

Under the pretense of having a picnic, a geologist (John Meillon) takes his teenage daughter (Jenny Agutter) and 6-year-old son (Lucien John) into the Australian outback and attempts to shoot them. When he fails, he turns the gun on himself, and the two city-bred children must contend with harsh wilderness alone. They are saved by a chance encounter with an Aborigine boy (David Gulpilil) who shows them how to survive, and in the process underscores the disharmony between nature and modern life.

Why is politics important?

Newsletters, Video Highlights

Why is politics important?

This newsletter will tell us about the origins of politics, the various types of government that exists and how this will affect the current and future generations.

Dictatorship

A dictatorship is a government or a social situation where one person makes all the rules and decisions without input from anyone else. Watch a dictator in action.

Communism

At the opposite end of the spectrum from capitalism, communism is an economic theory favouring a classless society and the abolition of private property. Watch a communist in action here.

Aristocracy

A person who’s “born to rule” belongs to the ruling class, or aristocracy, and is “noble” just by being in the family line. Whether they have done anything noble or not. Watch an aristocrat in action here.

Stalinism

The method of rule, or policies, of Joseph Stalin, Soviet Communist Party and state leader from 1929 until his death in 1953. Stalinism is associated with a regime of terror and totalitarian rule. Watch him in action here.

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Capitalism

Capitalism is an economic system featuring the private ownership of business wealth and the free and unfettered operation of trade markets. Watch a video that will highlight how capitalism works.

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Democracy

With Democracy the people get to decide the laws and ethics of a country. This allowed rights disallowed by many to be changed. Civil rights has effected every level of our society changing the laws we once held in high regard to shape the more common way people live their lives in 2016.

Race, gender and sexuality becoming issues which divided many nations, but with democracy we were able to collectively decide if this is what we want as a society. Watch a video that will highlight how democracy works.

Civil Rights

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Vote Yes For Aborigines

The 1967 referendum on Aborigines first saw that, Aboriginal people were finally counted as people, before they came under the Flora and Fauna Act. This lead on to the right to vote and access to many other liberties others had access to for decades.

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How Women Won The Vote

In 1902 Women were finally allowed to vote. Only 150 Years ago women had no rights when it came to voting or owning land. This documentary shows the lengths that these Australian men and women went to, ensuring this change.

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SELMA

After the Abolition of slavery in America in 1865 a hundred years later free people of colour were still unable to vote, access the same places, use the same facilities and go to the same schools as other Americans. Selma is the story of a famous March and turning point in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. The use of “Jim Crow” laws allowed for the continued mistreatment of fellow American citizens by those sworn to serve and protect them.

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SUFFRAGETTES FOREVER – WOMEN AND POWER PART 1 

In the early 19th Century only those who owned property were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. This included women who were rate payers. Thanks to the sufferage movements of the early 20th century those who did not own property both men and women finally were allowed to vote, Part 1 of the series shows some of the tactics used to get the vote for all. This legacy lead to modern Democracy as we know it.

Revolutions

Revolutions are the end result when societies are unable to come together collectively to change the rules in which makes that society unfair to a majority of people.

Spartacus

Spartacus was a thracian gladiator who, along with other escaped slaves began the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. The rebellion has proved inspiration for many who have faced similar circumstances.

1916 – The Irish Rebellion

The Easter Rising or Easter Rebellion was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter week April 1916. The rising was launched by Irish republicans who wanted to end British rule in Ireland and establish a independent Irish Republic. Part 1 of 3

Braveheart

Sir William Wallace was a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders of the Wars of Scottish Independence. The Battle of Stirling Bridge where the English were defeated and caused William Wallace to be given the title Guardian of Scotland. The Battle of Falkirk saw the Scottish defeated and Sir William Wallace stood down from his title. He was captured in 1305 and Hung for High Treason.

Jandamarra’s War

Jandamarra lead a 3 year organised war against european colonists. He became a legend with his people the Bunuba Tribe, who believed he was immortal as he used hit and run tactics killing many police and settlers. He was finally killed by Micki, another Aboriginal tracker who was recruited by his children being held hostage by local police.

The Future

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 PEOPLE & POWER – WHATS HAPPENING TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY PART 1

What’s happening to American democracy? With a populist billionaire demagogue winning support on the right, a self-declared socialist confounding US historical prejudices on the left and millions of disenchanted voters apparently determined to disregard the political establishment in Washington, the nomination race for this year’s presidential poll has become one of the most peculiar and polarised electoral contests in decades.

Donald Trump – The Apprentice President

Since announcing his candidacy, Donald Trump is everywhere. This billionaire candidate has become the champion of ordinary America, who travel for hundreds of miles to see him.

Generation X- The Politics of X

A look at how the political consciousness of Generation X evolved over several decades especially in terms of race and women’s rights.

The Budget

See how the government decides how taxes, spending and cuts are decided and how they affect us all. With 50% of tax breaks going to the top 10% of earners. Many see the budget as unfair whilst others see it as just a part of a capitalistic society.

Popular Videos – what are other schools watching?

Video Highlights

Ever wondered what programs other schools in Australia are watching? Take a look at Mays most downloaded programs across Australia by clicking on the image below.

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Anzac Week

Newsletters, Video Highlights

TV4Education Plus remembers the Anzacs.

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Beneath Hill 60

During World War I a mining engineer (Brendan Cowell) and his team dig a network of tunnels beneath German lines and pack them with explosives.

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Gallipoli 1981

Two young Australian sprinters who want to join the army to fulfill their sense of duty.

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Deadline Gallipoli

Three journalists, Charles Bean, Ellis Ashmead Bartlett and Phillip Schuler, arrive at Gallipoli with the invading British and Allied troops in 1915. They will report the war but are prevented from getting out the true story of an unfolding disaster. From encampment in Cairo to Anzac Cove to the evacuation, this is the story of journalists who will not accept that truth be the first casualty. This is the story of the men who will not shut up. The actions of these men will help change the course of the campaign, ensure that a strategic disaster becomes a legend of human heroism, and leave an impregnable mark on each of their lives.

Part 1 of 2.

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Anzac Girls

Honouring the Centenary of the commencement of WW1, ANZAC Girls is a moving new six-part series based on the unique, and rarely told true stories of Australian and New Zealand nurses serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Part 1 of 5

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The Water Diviner

Four years after the Battle of Gallipoli, Australian farmer Joshua Connor travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who never returned home from the war.

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Behind The News – Anzac Centenary

Let’s find out exactly what happened on the beaches of Gallipoli way back in 1915. Here’s Matt.