Benediction

A bardic biopic on war poet Siegfried Sassoon
by
ABR Arts 29 November 2021

Benediction

A bardic biopic on war poet Siegfried Sassoon
by
ABR Arts 29 November 2021
Jeremy Irvine as Ivor Novello and Jack Lowden as a young Siegfried Sassoon in Benediction (photograph via the British Film Festival)
Jeremy Irvine as Ivor Novello and Jack Lowden as a young Siegfried Sassoon in Benediction (photograph via the British Film Festival)

Cinema and poetry make for a less obvious coupling than cinema and theatre or cinema and painting, but once you start counting, the number of movies about poets and their world is surprisingly high. Granted, there’s more about scandal than scansion in most of them, but the list, just from those I remember seeing, is impressive: The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), The Bad Lord Byron (1949), Stevie (1978), Gothic (1986), Barfly (1987), D’Annunzio (1987), Tom & Viv (1994), Total Eclipse (1995), Sylvia (2003), and Bright Star (2009). Within only the past five years we’ve been treated to Neruda, Dominion or the alternatively named Last Call (about the final hours of Dylan Thomas), Mary Shelley (which, like Gothic, ropes in Byron as well as the title character’s poet–spouse, with Coleridge added to the mix), and two bardic biopics from director Terence Davies: A Quiet Passion (2016) and the newly released Benediction. Might Davies, you wonder, be planning a third such venture, to match his acclaimed semi-autobiographical trilogy about working-class life in Liverpool from the 1940s to the 1960s?

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