Women at war

Women at war a fight during WWI
Women at war

1914, les Vosges (North-East of France, a border with Germany). The first war has just begun, and it is already a carnage. The German army is trying to invade France. French troops are outnumbered, ill equiped, but they oppose an heroic resistance. Just a few miles behind the frontline, women also lead a different fight : they have to keep the factories running, look after the wounded, maintain life in the midst of despair. Fate will bring four of them together : the mother superior of a convent, a nurse on the run, a prostitute looking for her son, and a widow running a factory. Overwhelmed by the violence and horrors of war, together they light a small fire of hope.

It’s a shame that such a fine cast is poorly served by a weak script and mundane dialogues. The situations are either absurd or too predictable. The music is heavy on drama. However, the series remains of great interest to all history fans, especially those interested in the First World War. The historical context is meticulously reconstructed, and the sets and costumes are beautifully designed. The natural scenery of the Vosges is spectacular and reinforces the dramatic mood.

The series shows how, when death, fear and drama become a daily norm, people can manage to hold on. They help each other (or sometimes betray each other), holding on to every moment of respite and small joys. The series also shows the absurdity of military decisions at the time, sending men to suicide with no chance of gaining ground. The final battle places a handful of men in a gap in the forest, below the enemy’s artillery and gas… The 1914-18 war was one long, absurd slaughter. The women had to fight in their own way, with courage and determination. But 10 million men (on all sides) lost their lives and 20 million were wounded. An unspeakable atrocity.

Mini series, 8 episodes (50 mn), 2022, on Netflix

CASTING : Audrey Fleurot / Marguerite, Julie de Bona / mother Agnès, Sofia Essaïdi / Caroline, Camille Lou / Suzanne, Tom Leeb / Joseph, Tcheky Karyo / General Duvernet, Yannick Choirat / Marcel, Sandrine Bonnaire / Eleonore

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