Terence Davies’ latest film exhibits the high standards he has maintained throughout his career, focusing on historical periods, this time World War I and its aftermath. BENEDICTION meticulously recreates the complex world of its subject, anti-war poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden as a young man, Peter Capaldi later in life). But the film does much more than this. Through its extensive use of wartime found footage, as well as back-projections, unstable diegesis, and other experimental techniques, Davies explores the shattered souls of the men who were sent to execute the Great War.
BENEDICTION also represents a new frankness in Davies’ depiction of gay desire. Throughout his life, Sassoon meets other men such as himself, who ache for “the love that dare not speak its name.” From a kindly military psychologist through a group of creative luminaries including legendary songwriter Ivor Novello, Sassoon discovers that he is not alone, but is forced to the margins of society nonetheless. In BENEDICTION, gay love is simply love itself, with all the attendant joy and heartbreak. And as Davies demonstrates through the frequent use of Sassoon’s mournful verse, warmongering and homophobia are simply two faces of the same culture of death. (Michael Sicinski)
In the presence of Terence Davies.
- Jack Lowden - Siegfried Sassoon
- Peter Capaldi - older Siegfried Sassoon
- Jeremy Irvine - Ivor Novello
- Simon Russell Beale - Robbie Ross
- Calam Lynch - Stephen Tennant
- Ben Daniels - military psychologist
- Terence Davies
- Nicola Daley
- Stephen Griffiths
- Alex Mackie
- Andy Harris
- Annie Symons