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A film with no spoken dialogue, just follows the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem, which include WWI soldier poet Wilfred Owen's poems reflecting the war's horrors. It shows the story of an Englishman soldier (Wilfred Owen) and a nurse (his bride) during World War I. It also includes actual footage of contemporary wars (WWII, Vietnam, Angola, etc.) Written by
Michel Rudoy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Derek Jarman's "War Requiem" is not a movie in the general sense of the term. The only dialogue is at the beginning. From there it's all images of soldiers, set to the tune of Benjamin Britten's* requiem of the same title. I'd say that the movie works as a look at the horrors of war. The focus is World War I, but it includes footage of later wars. The music offers a good contrast to the war, but at the same time it distracts.
This is the first Jarman movie that I've ever seen. It has its merits and its weaknesses. It turned out to be one of Jarman's final movies (he died of an AIDS-related illness in 1994). What the movie should do is force us to take a serious look at WWI. Not only did it senselessly kill millions and create a lost generation, but Versailles Negotiations set the stages for Hitler's rise to power, the Vietnam War, and the current bloodshed in the Middle East.
So the movie does a good job showing the horrors of the war, although I doubt that it's possible to portray to the full extent. It's not clear if Jarman meant for the emphasis to be on the war, or on the operatic soundtrack accompanying the scenes. The result is an OK, not great effort.
PS: Jarman, an openly gay man, fought Thatcher's proposed anti-gay laws in the '80s. I wonder what he would think now that the UK has marriage equality.
*Benjamin Britten's music more recently appeared in Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom".
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