At every festival, there are one or two rare gems, and at the 48th Festival one of those is
a film called War Stories. In this case, the title does not tell all for it is the tale of
seven New Zealand women and how WWII affected them. Interlaced with documentary footage,
clips and family photos, the women reveal with great candor how their lives were changed by
the war, the men who loved and then left them and the communities in which they lived.
Instead of watching a documentary, one feels more like we are listening to a conversation
between intimate friends at the end of a wonderful evening. Producer/ director Gaylene
Preston interviewed over 100 women before selecting the seven who share their lives in War
Stories. The breath of their experiences and the depth of emotion with which they tell
them had the small theater's audience laughing out loud with tears in their eyes. The
discipline that went into editing the film into one and half hours demands respect and
perhaps the highest praise that can be given Preston is the audience, saturated with film
going, actually left the film wanting more.