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Jerusalem: An Anthem for England (2005)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  August 2005 (UK)
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David Roper ...
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August 2005 (UK)  »

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Engaging and well delivered documentary
10 September 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A documentary about a song that I have mostly only sung in church was never going to be an easy sell to me and it was no real surprise to me that I only got round to watching it a few months after recording it off BBC4 (where else?). Watching it though I was surprised by how engaging it was. It starts off with the introduction of the song as a uplifting anthem during World War I, discussing the style and meaning of the song before following it being used by the Suffragettes, the Unions, the BNP and, erm, naturalists. It sounds like it should be dull but it never is and rather is interesting across the whole film.

It achieves this by being passionate about the subject but also bringing out a patchwork of experiences as well as uses for the song. It is interesting to see how everyone more or less agrees about the meaning of the song and how impacting it is but yet the use of the song is by so many diverse groups – some tasteless, some amusing and some of real significance culturally. The various contributions are almost all strong and the film never really loses the plot or wanders off down roads that are dull.

Overall it held my attention and was effortlessly engaging across the whole running time. The real strength is the passion for the subject from all involved and the way that it never forces an opinion down your throat and, if it does leave you with a conclusion, then it is that Jerusalem is a suitable song for uniting England as it means so much to such diverse groups as well as to the ordinary man in the street.


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