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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
The Nurse
...
The Old Soldier
Patricia Hayes ...
Mother
Rohan McCullough ...
Enemy Mother
...
Abraham
...
The Unknown Soldier / Unknown Soldier
...
The German Soldier / German Soldier
...
Blinded Soldier
Claire Davenport ...
Charge Sister / Britannia
Spencer Leigh ...
Soldier 1
Milo Bell ...
Soldier 2
Richard Stirling ...
Soldier 3
Kim Kindersley ...
Soldier 4
Stuart Turton ...
Soldier 5
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Storyline

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 <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

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Genres:

Drama | War

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Release Date:

6 January 1989 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Sota requiem  »

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Sound Mix:

(as spectral recording Dolby Stereo SR in selected theatres)

Color:

(archive footage)|
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Laurence Olivier's final acting role before his death on July 11, 1989 at the age of 82. See more »

Soundtracks

War Requiem, Op. 66
Composed and conducted by Benjamin Britten
Based on poems by Wilfred Owen
Soloists: Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with The Bach Choir, The London Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Highgate School Choir
Music played by The Melos Ensemble of London and The London Symphony Orchestra
Organist: Simon Preston
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User Reviews

 
song of madness
11 January 2016 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

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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