Tuesday 13 August 2013

Britten on Film

The Night Mail
BFI Southbank iscelebrating Benjamin Britten's centenary with a series of screenings. There is a programme GPO Documentaries devoted to Britten's work with the GPO Film Unit, plus filmed versions of his operas including a version of The Turn of the Screw long thought to be lost, as well as special previews of new films by John Bridcut and Tony Palmer.

Britten joined the GPO Film Unit at the age of 21, composing music for a number of documentaries. Included in the programme are Coal Face, Sixpenny Telegram and, perhaps the best known, Night Mail.

There are also filmed versions of some of Britten's operas, including a 1959 film of The Turn of the Screw long thought to be lost, directed by Peter Morely with two members of the original cast Jennifer Vyvyan and Arda Mandikian; BBC's 1966 version of Billy Budd directed by Basil Coleman and featuring Peter Pears final performance as Captain Vere with Peter Glossop and Michael Landon; the original TV film of Owen Wingrave (1971) and Phyllida Lloyd's outstanding production of Gloriana filmed in 2000 with Dame Josephine Barstow in the title role. The screening of Gloriana will be introduced by Phyllida Lloyd and Dame Josephine Barstow. Also in the season is Derek Jarman's version of the War Requiem (1989), Tony Palmer's Death in Venice (1981) and a 1969 film of Peter Pears in Peter Grimes with Heather Harper, and Owen Brannigan drected by Brian Large.

There are special previews of new films by Tony Palmer, Nocturne and John Bridcut, Britten's Endgame, along with director Q&A's. Paul Kildea, who wrote the most recent biography of the composer, will be introducing the season illustrated by footage including home-movies of Britten.

The season starts on 8 September and runs through to 3 October 2013. Further information from the Britten 100 website and the BFI Soutbank website.

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