El Alamein: In the Line of Fire (15)
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Time Out saysUnexceptionable if sympathetically-acted small-budget war drama focusing on the fate, in October 1943, of a detachment of the ‘abandoned’ Italian Pavia Division (who were left stranded near the Qattara depression by their High Command and their German allies during the ferocious North African campaign). It’s all as witnessed by a fresh-faced ‘university volunteer’, Private Serra (Briguglia): the abitrary chances of surviving the continuous shelling and the surrounding minefields; the privations of dysentery, hunger and thirst; the competing demands of self-preservation and honour; and the superstitious nature of combat soldiers (‘each is allowed only three miracles’, says one). No revelations here; even its particular brand of humanism seems a little stale and undigested.