PBS: WWII, THE BIG ONE

Sunday, September 16, 2007

'The War'

"The War," a new seven-part, 15-hour documentary epic about World War II as re-imagined by Ken Burns, that maestro of nonfiction filmmaking, is poised to be the centerpiece of the new PBS season. It seeks to serve that duty honorably, even if the film has run into controversy for failing to depict adequately the role played by Latinos and American Indians in fighting The Great Fight (corrective measures have reportedly been taken in the final cut). Burns reinvented the TV documentary in 1990 with "The Civil War," proving that still photographs and other seemingly static visuals could be brought to life through creative editing of sight and sound. (Of course, thousands of hours of film footage exist dealing with World War II.)

Airing over a two-week span on PBS stations, "War" has already earned at least one rave review -- from Ken Burns. He told TV Guide that "the film never loses that intimate sense of being a poem and not a textbook." Somehow he resisted the temptation to call it a masterpiece -- but who knows, it might be one. (Debuts next Sunday.)


© 2007 The Washington Post Company