“A stunning visual and serious music treat” (Variety), Derek Jarman’s (Sebastiane, Jubilee) 1989 War Requiem reunites British cinema’s enfant terrible with his muse Tilda Swinton (2008 Oscar® Winner for Michael Clayton) for a spectacular and moving interpretation of composer Benjamin Britten’s groundbreaking 1961 orchestral masterpiece. Just as Britten combined the sacred Latin Requiem Mass with the searing unromantic war poetry of British infantry lieutenant Wilfred Owen, who was tragically killed in the final week of WWI, Jarman interprets Britten’s six movements in eye-popping and heartbreaking dialogue-free tableaus illustrating war’s infinite futility, sacrifice, and waste.
War Requiem boldly combines archival footage of war’s devastation with Jarman’s keen and gifted eye for both the theatrical and the political as Owen, played by Nathaniel Parker, doggedly struggles to survive on the field of battle in defense of a cause rendered unjust by the human toll it takes in the trenches and on the home front. Featuring Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, National Treasure) as Owen’s star-crossed German counterpart, and Sir Laurence Olivier in his final screen appearance, War Requiem is a “violent, horrifying, ultimately inspiring film” that remains Derek Jarman’s definitive, “eloquent, complex, and profoundly negative statement on war” (Washington Post). –Kino
Derek Jarman (January 31, 1942- February 19, 1994), British film director, artist, and writer.
Jarman’s first films were experimental super 8mm shorts, a form he never entirely abandoned, and later developed further (in his films Imagining October (1984), The Angelic Conversation (1985), The Last Of England (1987) and The Garden (1990)) as a parallel to his narrative work.
Jarman made his debut in “overground” narrative filmmaking with the groundbreaking Sebastiane (1976), arguably the first British film to feature positive images of gay sexuality, and the first (and to date, only) film entirely in Latin. He follwed this with the film many regard as his first masterpiece, Jubilee (shot 1977, released 1978), in which Queen Elizabeth I of England is transported forward in time to a desolate and brutal wasteland ruled by her twentieth century namesake. Jubilee was arguably the first UK punk movie, and amongst its cast featured punk groups and figures such as Wayne County… read more
I was actually looking forward to this film as the music is great. The film is appalling. That’s being tactful. The stilted images and poses are ridiculous. About 2/3rd way through there’s quiite a… read review