The first BBC television film to be given a British theatrical release, Derek Jarman's War Requiem is a cinematic interpretation of composer Benjamin Britten's famed oratorio. Narrated by Lord Laurence Olivier, whose last film this was, War Requiem combines Britten's music with the words of English poet (and World War 1 casualty Wilfred Owen) and Jarman's stark, symbolic images--filmed, appropriately enough, in an old mental hospital. Throughout, the sacrifice of young lives to the horrors of war is likened to the Supreme Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As always, Jarman uses every opportunity to poke holes in Brtain's hidebound traditionalism. Though unrated, the violence quotient in War Requiem is enough to render the film unsuitable for young children. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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