Comments for Unquiet Graves

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Produced by Marjorie Van Halteren and Helen Englehardt

Other pieces by Marjorie Van Halteren

Summary: Special essay on living in Flanders


I won't go through the trouble of writing a proper review, except to say how much I enjoyed this piece. Words like "evocative", "textured", and "fascinating" come to mind.

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Review of Unquiet Graves

A lovely piece.

For those weaned on wars where personal sacrifice has been neither a prerequisite nor an option, the stuff Marjorie describes might seem strange, archaic. But in this wonderful concoction, she reminds us that radio is always about people -- not just the jewel-like traditionbearers who "put you there," but all the people who chat along the lines of parade routes, among the ghosts of former battlefields.

For those who think 9/11 changed everything, they clearly weren't there for Paschendale during the Great War, but 245,000 men were lost here.

I don't know how PDs should make a piece like this relevent, but listeners seem sensitive to numbers, don't they?

A curious mix of heart-breaking and inspirational. An obvious thing for 11.11, but post-war tape informing the story would be fabulous on any date.

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Review of Unquiet Graves

As the "Thin Red Line", by Terrence Malik evokes in film, a deep reflection about life, death and war, so does "Unquiet Graves", offer a high quality radio reflection of the same caliber. Helen and Marjorie hit a little felt nerve by our citizens at home in the U.S, when exploring what wars do to a people, on home turf. No one can escape the effects of war today. A sobering thought.

In an intimately gentle voice, the listener, is directed to join a tour with an Englishman, who relives the horror of gas clouds in WW I, learn of survival techniques (such as how to use your bodily functions in a specific formulation), and how the Northern Europeans honor one another in memorials.

Honoring the dead, and clutching to the neighbor; these people were kin, now. They all lived to tell the tale. There is a depth here. You're kin to Terence Malik, I think. Great story. Very evocative.

I thoroughly enjoyed the production value: writing into tape, use of an English tour guide, the sounds of a radio broadcast, woven into the tape, with various interviews with the local peoples in Flanders. Nice use of echos for past recall.

And a fitting visual, the use of the poppy flower, to open and close the piece.

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Review of Unquiet Graves Memorial Day Special

I remember many years ago hitching a ride with a German truck driver across northern France. As we drove through seemingly endless fields of crimson poppies and bone white gravestones, iconic, almost dreamlike, I asked him, in my limited German, "Was ist das?". "Krieg", he answered, "War". We drove on in silence for a long long way, amidst the remains of our separate yet desperately linked histories. "Unquiet Graves" took me back to that time and place with its haunting juxtapositions of everyday life - food, flowers, conversations - and horror - bodies unearthed regularly to this day, one of them perhaps my own great-uncle, a pilot lost over France in 1917. The rich soundscape - music, a visit from a neighbour, a guided tour, the news from Iraq - and thoughtful narration make us realize how very much "over there" was with us then and is with us still.