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Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict (2013)

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This drama documentary for cinema explores the pacifism that was such a powerful influence on composer Benjamin Britten's life and work. The story begins in 1929 at Gresham's School in ... See full summary »





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Cast overview, first billed only:
narrator, also as Himself
Joseph Horovitz ...
Himself, interviewee, Royal College of Music
Simon Kinder ...
Himself, interviewee, history teacher, Greshams School
Sue Phipps ...
Herself, interviewee, Benjamin Britten's agent
Raphael Wallfisch ...
Himself, interviewee, also performer - cellist (as Raphael Wallisch)
Iain Burnside ...
Himself, interviewee, also performer - pianist
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch ...
Herself, interviewee
Mykola Allen ...
Oliver Berthoud
Peter Floud
Jeremy Lloyd ...
David Layton
James Klugmann
Christopher Theobald ...
Donald Maclean
Paul Hands ...
George Hawson
Alastair Boag ...
Walter Greatorex


This drama documentary for cinema explores the pacifism that was such a powerful influence on composer Benjamin Britten's life and work. The story begins in 1929 at Gresham's School in Norfolk, England. Our young actors take us into a world where social and political issues are actively addressed and young Ben Britten's hatred of all things militaristic is formed. As we explore the music that illustrated that hatred throughout his life, illustrated by new performances and unique observations from experts and friends, we frequently return to dramatic interludes at Gresham's, which cement the narrative - spoken by legendary actor John Hurt. The transcendent music of the War Requiem accompanies the climax of the film, before we return to Gresham's School 2012. Written by Anonymous

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Biography | Drama | Music | War



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Release Date:

February 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Benjamin Britten - Fred og konflikt  »

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A result of a school encouraging free thinking
30 December 2014 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Partly documentary, partly dramatization, this film tells the story about acclaimed musician, composer and director Benjamin Britten, from his younger years at a conservative, yet compared to others, very liberal boarding school where he was very much encouraged to go his own ways. The Gresham school produced many radical students from liberal upbringing, many to become communists. The film is also scattered with excerpts of performances of his music, so this is very much a cross-over production.

It's done well by relative Tony Britten, but without doubt the dramatizations are more interesting, where he as young is portrayed very well by Alex Lawther, which later has been receiving acclaim for his role as young Alan Turing in the acclaimed "The imitation game". Narration is distinctively done by John Hurt, and Lawther also reads from his many letters and diary along the way. We'll learn much about his thoughts and believes, from politics, to animal rights and interests.

Like most British productions, it's quality all the way through. Very serious in it's approach, many will fall off during the film, if shown on TV, especially for those not so interested in his music, when the small excerpts of music is played. But the film has much also to offer those with political interest.

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