Five stars for the film starring Jack Lowden, the new promise of the British scene.
The shocking ‘Benediction’ can be seen as a compendium-film that combines the stylistic traits and the thematic fixations that have marked the lofty career of British director Terence Davies. There is, for example, his perennial interest in memory as a meeting point of personal experience and collective consciousness. For Davies, who broke into the authorial galaxy with ‘Distant Voices’ (1988) –an autobiographical fresco about the hardships of a Liverpool family in the aftermath of World War II–, the memory of the British people is deeply linked to the destructive expansive wave of the beico phenomenon. In this sense, the figure of the poet and conscientious objector Siegfried Sassoon allows the filmmaker to tie together, in the frontal compositions and sinuous panoramas of the biopic ‘Benediction’, the traumatic memory of the Great War, the dissection of a distressed artistic sensibility –in in tune with ‘The Story of a Passion’ (2016), Davies’s film about Emily Dickinson– and, lastly, the bleak portrait of a homosexuality hit by conservative dogmas.
As evidenced by his first self-fiction exercises –included in ‘The Terence Davies trilogy’ (1984)–, the British filmmaker has a weakness for characters who, from the queer, resist stoically in the face of the lack of freedoms. In ‘Benediction’, this tragedy of social order is listened to through the study of Sassoon’s vital arc, which Davies goes through browsing through digital imagery. a great traveling circular around the protagonist takes us from his young self (a resplendent Jack Lowden) to his old age (played by an emaciated Peter Capaldi) through a morphing that condenses the Davies’s obsession with the idea of the eternal (the past that always comes back) and the ephemeral (time, and love!, that escapes from the hands). And it is that the British cinema cannot be understood without the yoke of sentimental agony. In fact, as he did in ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ (2011), Davies builds ‘Benediction’ on the conviction that heartbreak hurts like a world war.
For fans of high-flying film lyricism
Address: Terence Davis Distribution: Jack Lowden, Simon Russell Beale, Peter Capaldi, Jeremy Irvine, Kate Phillips, Gemma Jones, Ben Daniels Country: United Kingdom Year: 2021 Release date: 8–07-2022 Gender: Drama Script: Terence Davis Duration: 137 minutes
Synopsis: Siegfried Sassoon was a complex man who survived the horrors of fighting in World War I and was decorated for his bravery, but on his return he became a staunch critic of his government’s continuation of the war. His poetry was inspired by his experiences on the Western Front and he ended up being one of the leading war poets of the time. Idolized by aristocrats and stars of the London literary and stage world, he had relationships with several men while trying to come to terms with his homosexuality. At the same time, torn by the horror of the war, he made his vital journey a search for salvation, trying to find it in the conformity of marriage and religion. His story is that of a troubled man in a fractured world who seeks peace and self-acceptance, something as relevant then as it is in the world today.