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Home By Christmas: DVD Review

Read a Q&A with director Gaylene Preston here

Home By Christmas

Released by Roadshow Entertainment
Rating: PG

It's a powerful New Zealand film memoir by Gaylene Preston based on interviews with her father Ed Preston about his time in World War 2 in Italy and North Africa.

Culled from archive material, Preston's called in the services of Goodbye Pork Pie's Tony Barry to narrate the material and essentially play her father. But as we learn early on, Ed was never too keen on sharing his experiences until one day, as a Christmas present, he decided to open up to his daughter.

What unfolds is the story of one man and how he signed up to the NZ Army back in 1940 because the rest of the rugby team were doing it for a free holiday and he didn't want to be left out.

As he remarks, they never expected to see any war - but that was the opposite from what they'd ever have hoped.

This story is interspersed with the tale of the wife he left behind (played by Chelsie Preston Crayford) and the problems she faced while they were at war. It's a nice device which off sets the archive footage used by Preston to piece together the narrative. And it's one which many Kiwis will associate with.

There's a subtlety and restrained feeling about this film which makes it engaging - Ed's tell it like it is style means Home By Christmas will strike a chord with many in the audience who've heard hints of similar stories from previous generations. It's also a humbling and haunting film - but one which is important and needs to be told.

Extras: A Solid bunch here including making of, docos, deleted scenes and Ed's original interview, this is a well thought out batch which really rounds off the release and makes it essential viewing.

Rating: 8/10