1 July, 1916. The first day of the Battle of the Somme where 60,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded, most of them in the first two hours of battle. The bloodiest day in all of the British Army's history. "La Tranchée" tells the story of a group of thirty young soldiers in the two days following the first attack. Only the sergeant is a career officer. One of them, Billy MacFarlane, joined up to follow his brother. He's 17. For two days, these young, barely adult, men will be confronted by imminent death.
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The battle of the Somme remains one of Britain’s biggest collective traumas. My grandfather and great uncle fought and were wounded in France. This film tries to reconstruct the daily reality of the trench, and it deliberately confined to that space. My goal was to describe the life of all those volunteer infantrymen. Swept up in the innocent desire “to be part of it all,” this army of young enlisted men was decimated, wounded for life. The world had suddenly changed: innocence became bitterness, enthusiasm became ineradicable mourning.
William Boyd, Director