Conflict can have tragic consequences for everyone as the women portrayed in Bereford’s film, Paradise Road, react in a catastrophic manner in the events that lead on as the film progresses. The characters in the film are based on actual people: nurses or wives of major officials and civilians. These women are caught up in the global conflict of World War II and those who manage to survive are, despite any positive outcomes, are dreadfully damaged by their encounter with conflict both physically and emotionally. These moments of great unrest are captured in the film that innocent people are too often becoming caught up in and suffer from the effects of great struggle that are not of their own making.
The viewers are powerfully positioned to recognise with the three main protagonists, Adrienne, Margaret and Susan, as they come to a conditions with the cruel and frequently tragic circumstances of their situation. In the film’s opening scene, we observe a sight of the protected and usual lives led by women who were fairly unimportant to the conflict of war. Now, plunged into a terrifyingly brutal and unknown world, they come across the tragic consequences of the conflict. On the voyage to the camp, Beresford highlights the ordinary qualities of the women as they move violently to retain their meagre property or endeavour to help each other endure the long walk. Afraid, starving and exhausted, the women are herded like cattle. On their appearance in Sumatra they see the disengaged head of a following prisoner displayed on a pole in the public square.
The tragedies that occurred in the prisoners turn out to be a part of their daily lives, as many gave in to the belongings of untreated sickness. The scene with the two children creating simple wooden coffins for dead babies evidently highlights the tragedy of the conflict in the lives of normal people, and suggests that no reason can justify the dreadful consequences of violent conflict. Children are a figure of...
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