War Requiem (Jarman, 1989) DVD
You save £3 (15%)
|Add to Wishlist|
This product should be despatched within 2 working days. Despatched from the UK. Delivery timesUsually 2-3 days to reach UK addresses. Europe takes around 2 days longer and International destinations take 1-2 weeks
FREE to UK addresses.
Costs to other countriesUK: Free
Western Europe: £2.00
Rest of the world: £3.00
If you are unhappy with your purchase, you can return it to us within 14 days. More details
Directed by Derek Jarman
Produced in 1989
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Through an hour and a half of unforgettable tableaux, staged reconstructions of Wilfred Owen’s life at war and footage of worldwide conflict, Derek Jarman gives images to Benjamin Britten’s choral symphony of the same name. The film begins simply, with the tolling of a bell and a single candle flame, a flame of remembrance; it ends on a subdued note, with an ‘Amen’. In between, Britten’s music, in which the words of Owen’s poems are interwoven with the traditional Latin mass for the dead, grieves and rages against needless, futile death. The music used is the famous 1963 recording with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Britten himself, and Decca’s requirement that the recording be heard without overlaid soundtrack or effects did much to determine the look and sound of the film.
Laurence Olivier, here in his very last acting performance before his death, plays an old soldier, fumbling with his medals in the garden of a nursing home; Tilda Swinton is his nurse, but also a nurse for all soldiers and all generations. Standing over a soldier’s tomb she looses a silent scream that pierces the fabric of the film with its tormented sorrow at the endless capacity for human conflict; as the scream shakes her body, she gestures at putting out her own eyes. Must it always be like this?
Images of plenty flash into the soldiers’ minds as they are sunk in mud, while apposite juxtapositions – nurses cutting gauze into strips in the antiseptic light of a hospital contrasted with a soldier handing out bayonets in the muddy light of warfare – are precise and telling. As the soundtrack surges, one can imagine the bayonet’s rip through the flesh.
One of the soloists on the recording is the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. Now in her 80s, she recently took the lead role in Alexander Sokurov’s meditation on war, Alexandra, playing a woman who visits her grandson in an army camp on the frontline in the Chechen conflict. “it’s easy to destroy”, she says to a commander, “but do you know how to build?”. Hers are the words of a woman who has grown tired of the insatiability of conflict, the endless need for remembrance, and, in Owen’s words, “the pity of war”.
Graeme Hobbs on 1st November 2008
Author of 276 reviews
Jarman creates a visual evocation of the legendary original recording of Benjamin Britten's choral masterpiece which blended the Latin Mass of the Dead with the poignant poetry of Wilfred Owen, Britain’s greatest chronicler of the Great War. Dramatised scenes featuring an extraordinary cast are interwoven with cinematic, poetic images and harrowing archive footage which all serve to recreate the horrors of 20th century wars - the loss of innocence, the unbearable suffering, the nightmares, the tragic waste of life. Critically-acclaimed on its release, Derek Jarman's War Requiem is perhaps the visionary director’s greatest film. As a testament to the futility of war it is a unique, unforgettable poignant and haunting experience.
Publisher: Second Sight
Length: 92 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: 2NDVD3148
Format: DVD Colour
- Remastered from a new High Defintion transfer
- Remastered audio of original Decca recording
- The Making of War Requiem, featuring interviews with Tilda Swinton, Nathaniel Parker and Don Boyd
- Audio commentary with producer Don Boyd.