In the trenches, the war streams on

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“Anzacs”… depicting the rugged resilience of the Anzacs.

It’s a khaki march into the streaming world for this week’s streaming column with NICK OVERALL. 

IN the weeks following Anzac Day, an interest in the stories that tell of the conflicts and courage of war surge throughout streaming platforms.

Nick Overall.

The 2015 mini-series “Gallipoli” has got a second wind on Netflix after the drama that originally aired on Channel Nine was described as a “ratings disaster”.

And good on it, the show balances a tone that’s intense yet sincere, as should be strived for with such subject matter.

On Binge is “1917”, which gives the incredibly convincing illusion of the entire two hours happening in one single camera take – no cuts.

Inspired in the audience is a feeling of walking along right there with the soldiers through the bombarded trenches and far-stretching battlefields of northern France. With this one, the bigger the screen that it can be watched on the better.

But one show I really want to highlight is “Anzacs”, streaming on Stan.

A 1985 series of five episodes, the quite simply titled series fits its quite simple production.

I definitely don’t mean that in a bad way – this is an earnest slice of Australian television depicting the proud and rugged resilience of the Anzacs.

The story follows a group of young Aussies shipped off to the dangers of World War I, fighting in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

It came off the back of Australian new-wave cinema – a time during the ‘70s and ‘80s where the industry produced some of our country’s most famous films including another war classic: “Breaker Morant” (on Amazon Prime).

However, this series is more obscure when compared to the films it stands amongst, has its own unique and emotional charm, made even more interesting by the fact that many of the extras were actually soldiers in the Australian Army.

DISNEY Plus didn’t muck around getting 2021’s best picture winner on its platform.

Even as it was still playing in cinemas, “Nomadland” started streaming and stars Frances McDormand as a wanderer through rural America, taking in the land and the intriguing characters who inhabit it.

Hailing from China is director Chloé Zhao, the second woman to ever win the best director Oscar and the first Asian woman to ever do so, an impressive feat.

It becomes even more important to see her talent and achievements recognised when her own home country, or at least those who run it, have tried to scrub her out of existence.

In China, the Communist Party blocked all streams of the 2021 Oscars. Mentions of Zhao or “Nomadland” were censored and no reports of the film’s victory appeared across the country’s state-run media.

Why? Because in a 2013 interview with “Filmmaker” magazine, Zhao described the country as a place where there are “lies everywhere.” 

Funny that.

It becomes even more important then, that Zhao’s humble and touching film is made as widely accessible as possible through a medium such as streaming to be appreciated.

Shrek… turning 20.

ON a lighter note, here’s a spinout: “Shrek” is 20 years old.

That’s right, the Dreamworks animated classic first released in 2001 now has a comfortable streaming home on Netflix.

It’s hard to imagine someone not liking “Shrek”, but a controversial article recently published in “The Guardian” let loose on the animated classic for its twentieth anniversary.

The writer goes as far as to say: “It is a terrible movie. It’s not funny. It looks awful” and attacks the film’s “abandonment” of its fairytale premise in favour of references to other cultural mastheads such as “The Matrix” (on Amazon Prime) and for toilet humour.

What’s ironic is that chief of the fun police here somehow misses the point that becomes glaringly obvious in his own writing. 

Shrek’s far-reaching mishmash of ideas, references and jokes were designed to be appreciated on all different levels of age or cultural wisdom. That’s what’s made the film not only watchable, but endlessly rewatchable.

It’s like an onion, Donkey, it has layers.


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