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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 <email@example.com>
Wales is the part of the United Kingdom about which we don't hear much, and that's what makes Paul Turner's "Hedd Wyn" all the more enjoyable. I had never heard of the title poet until watching it. Ellis Evans proudly wrote in his native language and took as his pseudonym Hedd Wyn, the Welsh words for "blessed peace". But with the arrival of World War I, the English drafted him and sent him to his doom.
The movie is both an indictment of war and of England's domination of Wales. There can be no doubt that the English looked down on the Welsh just as they did the Scots and the Irish, and therefore had no qualms about sending them into harm's way. Evans was disgusted with the jingoism pushed by London, but even he got thrown into the war.
The movie's most impressive quality is of course its use of Welsh. For all that I know, it might be the only movie filmed mainly in Welsh, a language that has some of the most interesting spellings of all. It's just a really good movie. Rwy'n argymell y ffilm (Welsh for "I recommend the movie").
*That's Welsh for "this is impressive".
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