Sacrifice, from D-Day to the liberation of Paris (DVD) – Documentary Review
Follow Genre: Documentary
Director: Isabelle Clarke, Daniel Costelle and Frederic Lumiere
Distributor: TDM
Duration: 90 minutes

Sacrifice, from D-Day to the liberation of Paris (DVD) – Documentary Review

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Good: High quality footage, viewpoint of civilians, comprehensive
Bad: Non native dubbing of recordings, fast paced
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Today we are lucky to live in a relatively safe and free world, mostly due to pivotal battles fought in a war little over sixty years ago. It is crucial that the memories and stories of are kept alive, so mankind never has to go through the terrors of a world war ever again. Sacrifice, from D-day to the liberation of Paris provides a great medium to deliver these striking images to the world. This documentary shows very exclusive material that was extensively re-mastered using the latest, cutting edge technology. This feature causes viewers to be emerged in the daily atmosphere of a nation bending under the stress of being occupied by Germany. 


Sacrifice provides both unique testimonies by important historical figures, such as Dwight. D. Eisenhower and Erwin Rommel, combined with stories by the faceless soldiers and casual citizens. On June the 5th, 1944, an incredible air and naval fleet was heading for the European mainland to free the occupied nations and restore peace to the world. The documentary shows the accounts of the valiant men and women that sacrificed all that they could, starting from the preparation of D-Day to the liberation of Paris.

Usually, documentaries limit themselves to using either stock footage or re-enacted video material. Sacrifice is an exception to this paradigm as it is comprised entirely from re-mastered archive films which have been colorized. Many of these scenes have never been seen before and this fact contributes to the uniqueness of the experience. The focus of this documentary is thus definitely put on the people and their personal experience rather than the historical setting of war.


The narration for Sacrifice is twofold. On one hand there is the typical firm voice that brings a museum feel to the viewer. Very clearly spoken English alongside a well written script make sure the viewer is well educated with correct details. On the other hand there are the many in character voices during the testimonies of individuals. These bring a welcome refreshing change of pace. When a French lady is speaking on how people were imprisoned, the viewer is submerged even deeper into the happenings on the individual level. Unfortunately, these voiceovers are limited to the English language with a local accent, which might work in other documentaries, but hardly seems fitting for one on a topic that had involved nations worldwide. Without disrespecting anything about the audiovisual quality, in some cases the dubbed conversation unintentionally resembles a scene from notable comical series the likes of “Allo Allo”. This is the only minor issue with this documentary, all be it understandable : using English would reach more audiences and the cost would be significantly lower. However when using the local language combined with subtitles, the director would have created an even more realistic experience.


Another noteworthy feature is the very impressive re-mastered visual content. It is unexpected to see high quality, stable video footage of an actual battle taking place in the mid 1940’s.  These scenes really allow viewers to get a feel of what it must’ve been like to live and die during one of mankind’s darkest periods. It is also nice to see life as it was, which is probably even more rare as it has survived for 60 years prior to the expert  recolorization. This is truly where Sacrifice shines, as it combines high quality recordings of both soldiers and combat with both famous historical figures and (to be ) liberated civilians.


Sacrifice succeeds in showing the viewer a combination of important historical events starting from the involvement of the American troops into the World War at Normandy’s beaches during D-day all the way up to the liberation of Paris, the French capital. Although 90 minutes may seem short at first to contain battles in which uncountable soldiers lost their lives and many families were left in despair and fear, the documentary definitely attempts to educate viewers with an unprecedented combination of the stories by historical leaders and the testimonies of civilians and locals. The latter ensures that viewers are glued to the screen, because they can relate to their own relatives who have known life during the German occupation all those years ago and perhaps even sympathise with victims of war in the present day world.

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