War Requiem 1990 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(19) IMDb 6.6/10
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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.

Starring:
Nathaniel Parker, Tilda Swinton
Runtime:
1 hour 29 minutes

War Requiem

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War Requiem

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama
Director Derek Jarman
Starring Nathaniel Parker, Tilda Swinton
Supporting actors Laurence Olivier, Patricia Hayes, Rohan McCullough, Nigel Terry, Owen Teale, Sean Bean, Alex Jennings, Claire Davenport, Spencer Leigh, Milo Bell, Richard Stirling, Kim Kindersley, Stuart Turton, Lucinda Gane, Beverly Seymour, Linda Spurrier, David Meyer, Clancy Chassay
Studio FilmBuff
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

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They tried too hard when they filmed this one.
Nom de plume
The priest is retaining the man alive for him to suffer more, for the audience to understand the suffering such a war can be, but that is our easy interpretation.
Jacques COULARDEAU
Despite the subject matter and the footage, I found this an extremely poetic vision, and quite brilliant.
Jill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jill on June 21, 2008
Format: DVD
After searching for this film for years, I have finally managed to see it. What a beautiful work! It's all in black and white, incorporating real footage from WWI, with only Laurence Olivier reading Wilfred Owen's superb poetry and Benjamin Britten's powerful music; there is no audible dialogue.

This is a raging -- and yet, at times, delicate -- cry against war and all its terrible waste.

In this last screen role, Olivier plays the Unknown Soldier. Nathaniel Parker -- conversely, in his first screen role -- plays the Soldier/Poet (Wilfred Owen) movingly. Tilda Swinton as the nurse is hauntingly lovely; and you'll also see Sean Bean as a German soldier, and Patricia Hayes as the British mother.

Despite the subject matter and the footage, I found this an extremely poetic vision, and quite brilliant. It certainly takes more than one viewing to take it all in. Breathtaking!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2009
Format: DVD
This film version puts a visual to the 1963 recording of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. The music is conducted by Britten, his partner Peter Pears sings the tenor lead, and it also features the German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. The nationality of the soloists was itself part of Britten's pacifist message in post-WWII Europe, and Britten's recording of the War Requiem is still considered at least one of the best versions ever recorded, if not the best.

The War Requiem combines the standard Latin text for a Catholic requiem mass with the English-language poetry of Wilfred Owen, who was serving in the British army when he was killed exactly one week before the end of World War I. His poems capture the senselessness and pain of war, particularly of the terrible trench warfare of the time.

Derek Jarman has created a visual experience that respects and is true to the spirit of the music. Owen's poetry and Britten's music are both very expressive, providing opportunities for a strong visual narrative to communicate the tragedy of the music and the poetry on another dimension.

One good example is in the Offertorium section, where Owen's powerful poetic imagery speculates that WWI was the result of the Biblical Abraham going ahead and in fact killing his son Isaac, despite the pleas of the angel to set him free. This is one scene that lends itself to an almost literal adaption. However, the majority of the visuals build on mood rather than concrete narrative. Taking its cue from Owen's poetry, the visuals are in a WWI setting. I thought the ending of the film was worthy of the amazing ending of the music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on July 5, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is of course the meeting of three artists. The poet Wilfred Owen, the composer Benjamin Britten and the film maker Derek Jarman.

Let's speak of Jarman here. He is perfectly at ease with this project because of many reasons but first of all because he is a visual painter and as such he is probably at his best in this film because he has to follow the music and the words, half of the latter being in Latin and the rest in English. He is not the author of this text that is sung to the music of Benjamin Britten. So Jarman must paint the music, paint the words, show us in striking live images the meaning of this oratorio or requiem and the strong trauma this war was and still is, even today when we are going to "celebrate" the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the most absurd human butchery, the most meaningless barbaric slaughter that leaves us senseless when we look at it.

He shows first of all the tremendous suffering this war was for the men, for each man and for the clusters of men that had to live the war through together, a fighting unit and within that fighting unit some smaller groups or couples that more or less got bonded by the absurdity of this suffering. The officer that was living with the men in the trenches was necessarily the empathetic and supportive "father" of his men, though he was hardly older than them and even at times younger. This bond between men in uncontrollable suffering, pain and inevitable death becomes superhuman and even divine. The real god for such men is the small gestures of help and compassion they find in the men they are sitting next to, they are fighting with not even against a common enemy, but for the sake of invisible industrialists and politicians.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By heather grennon on October 4, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Good acting, and I like that the story is told without words, but the intermittent shots of choral singers was just too distracting. I wanted more Nathaniel Parker & Sean Bean. It would've been more powerful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SSKing on June 23, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
There were no subtitles when I saw it on my desktop. Too bad because the poem which is sung in the Requiem is very deep, but hard to follow without subtitles. Thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Knokey on November 5, 2011
Format: DVD
A 1-1/2 hour music video to one of the greatest--if not THE greatest--choral works of the 20th century--its only equal is Tippett's "A Child of Our Time." Gorgeous cast, great to see Sir Larry's final performance along with Tilda Swinton, Boromir and King Arthur. Full marks to Jarman for his passion and commitment. Unfortunately, as passion sometimes does, it rather oversteps the mark. In fact, overleaps it, augmenting Britten and Owen's quiet subtlety with a sledgehammer used to beat the audience over the head. There are many effective moments--Swinton's face is built for tragedy--but it's also the kind of passion that unlike the "Requiem" itself dates quickly, as this already has. I usually listen to the music without watching the images, though it's nice to have them there to pound the message home.
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