Monday, March 25, 2013

Mourning Downton Book & Movie Club: Week 4

Commona-my Book & Movie Club!!

This week's movie is another Masterpiece Theatre Series.  Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abby's Anna Bates, plays Angelique Mahy in this PBS Masterpiece Theatre favorite of mine: Island at War.

Angelique Mahy
A riveting view of the German invasion and occupation of the Channel Islands, the only part of the British Isles that fell into Nazi hands, and how life was irrevocably changed overnight forms the backdrop of the gripping drama Island at War.

Realizing occupation was inevitable, some islanders and many local children evacuated just prior to the invasion. They vacated their homes, businesses and schools and headed for the harbor with all the possessions they could carry. With few boats available to take them to relative safety, the children and Jewish inhabitants were prioritized; ultimately about 1/3rd the population, or 30,000, set sail for the unknown.

Those who stayed were to encounter a hostile Nazi command, intent on imposing their way of life on the island. The private use of cars, for instance, was banned and the best vehicles quickly requisitioned by the Germans. The islanders were limited to bicycles and walking. Villages and towns were given German names, clocks were set to Central European Time and all gatherings could only assemble by permission of the German High Command.

James Wilby (Bertie & Elizabeth, Gosford Park) stars as James Dorr, Deputy Governor of the fictitious St. Gregory, which stands in for the islands of Jersey and Guernsey. Clare Holman (Prime Suspect 6) is Dorr's wife Felicity, on the verge of leaving James before the war but now resolved to stand by him. Philip Glenister (Calendar Girls) plays the German commander Baron von Rheingarten -- courtly, urbane, and ready to use extreme methods against any sign of resistance.

When Hitler took the Channel Islands, he boasted that he was "wiping his boots on the doormat of England." England never let him in the door, but if it had, the story of the Channel Islands shows what might have happened. - Masterpiece Theatre

And my book selection:

A riveting tale of three generations spanning the end of Old China during the Japanese invasion (Second-Sino Japanese War), Mao's regime and the Japanese occupation. Chang chronicles the enormous changes in China since 1929 through her family's story, which includes arrest during the Cultural Revolution, exile to the Sichuan wilderness and coming to terms with the bewildering state of China today. It's quite a tale, wonderfully told without a trace of rancor or bitterness. Living in London since 1978, Chang visits her mother back in China every year. You can imagine Chang with notebook in hand back in the family apartment absorbed in the stories of her much-loved mother. The book opens with the statement, "At the age of 15 my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general. It was 1929 and China was in chaos.

Add these to your list!

P.S. For past selections:
Week 1

Week 2
Week 3

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