A young poet living in the North Wales countryside competes for the most coveted prize of all in Welsh Poetry - that of the chair of the National Eisteddfod, a tradition dating back a ... See full summary »
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A young poet living in the North Wales countryside competes for the most coveted prize of all in Welsh Poetry - that of the chair of the National Eisteddfod, a tradition dating back a hundred years. Before the winner is announced Hedd Wyn gets sent to fight with the English in the trenches of the First World War Written by
Gavin Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This Welsh-language film directed by Paul Turner is based on the true story of Ellis Evans - a young poet living in North Wales at the start of WW1. Huw Garmon is excellent as Evans - the young lover; the poet; the farm boy and, ultimately, as a young soldier sent to his death at the Somme. Evans competes in the National Eisteddfod - a cultural competition which includes the awarding of a Bardic chair to the winner of the poetry competition but, before the winner is announced Evans, whose bardic name was Hedd Wyn, is sent to the front. This film captures perfectly the Welsh traditions bound up with the Chapel and the family. It also shows vividly the young lives wasted in the conflict. The countryside of North Wales is shown in glorious colour,contrasting with the grey mud of the trenches. There is one scene where the Major is leading his troops down a country road. As they approach the camera the scene shifts to the side of the road and one sees the faces of these boys who are marching off to what we now know was almost certain death. The troops were played by young army cadets and it helps us to remember that few of those who died were old men - they were young boys - "they shall not grow old as we that are left grow old". The final scene where the Bardic chair is brought, swathed in black, to the Evans' farmhouse is so moving. The parents, grieving for their lost son, accept it with dignity knowing that he will never see his prize. A beautifully acted, directed and photographed film worthy of its Oscar nomination.
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