Tuesday, 30 August 2011

TV as soporific?

At a very late stage in her life, my mother, always politically aware and with an interest in what was going on in the wider world, stopped watching the 10.00 pm news.

She was, she said only able to cope with disturbing news earlier in the day, and if she watched TV late at night she wouldn't sleep, or, if she did, would have nightmares.

I used to consider this a little melodramatic until a few years ago I discovered I was suffering the same reaction, so much so that I now never watch TV news after early evening and try to avoid dramas or films of a grim or potentially insomnia inducing nature.

The exception to this,for me, is that I have a fascination with holocaust stories.

The very best of these, like Schindler's List, or The Last Butterfly while intensely moving, have so much to teach that for me they are compulsive viewing.

This evening I have just watched "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas", and while there was a sort of inevitability about the ending, and while the story was merely sketched in rather than fleshed out as well as it might have been, the acting was mainly good, and in the case of the two young boys, really excellent.  The brooding atmosphere of the whole thing was well portrayed and the confused thinking of the individuals caught up in events well beyond their control was convincing.

Not entertainment  by any standard, but another one to add to my growing list of WW2 required watching.

Another sleepless night awaits.


  1. I watched it too and found myself saying the Lord's Prayer at the end.

  2. We are only half way through but I agree that its required viewing. We stopped watching and will finish it tonight but we then went on to discuss the appalling fact that it had all happened in our life time. Both of us had met people who had suffered in some way from what happened to the Jews....We will watch the rest tonight.

  3. I fully understand your reaction Jane, there is very little else to be done.

  4. Like you Jean i have known several people who were either lucky evacuees, just in time, or , in one case, someone who survived a camp.

  5. Have you watched the documentary, Shoah? Or Sophie's Choice (with Meryl Streep). The book, by William Styron, is so well-written!

  6. No Anita, to either of those. Have heard about Sophie's Choice, but not Shoah.
    Thanks, will investigate.

  7. I avoided "The Boy with the striped pyjamas" on the grounds that it looked too horrific. I shall try and look for it again.

  8. I do understand that reaction Freda, but as I said in the blog, for me it is compulsive viewing.
    It is fairly grim in places but at least offers a slightly unusual perspective through the child's eyes.