Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 14 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is a confusing film and I feel Tony Palmer has not been sure what he is trying to achieve with it. Those who have seen his previous Britten films will recognise much of the content ( even the comment from BB's housekeeper about his food preferences is here). The new content from various musicians seems grafted on and a bit out of place - worth hearing I suppose, but it is mostly just faces speaking to camera. BB enthusiasts will find this interesting, but again, little is said that we don't know already. There are multiple images of concentration camp victims - horrific images - and they dominate sections of the DVD. The end piece showing the debate in the House of Commons prior to the invasion of Iraq is messy, and do we need to hear Tony Blair's voice in a film about Benamin Britten? I think not. And so, a confused piece of work, and one that ultimately fails in its purpose. If you have seen Palmer's previous films about Britten, you will probably want to see this one too; if you haven't, buy those instead. Better still, buy one of the excellent books about BB's life and listen to his music.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Aug 2013 13:50:46 BDT
T B SWEET says:
I entirely agree with M Morrison's comments. "Nocturne" is confused, patchy, politically biased, uses previous footage out of context (the most glaring example being Heather Harper) and is, I would suggest, meretricious. Britten would have been horrified by this travesty of his life and work.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jan 2014 09:59:26 GMT
I would like to go into the 'politically biased' argument. It is obvious that Britten's work is partly 'politically biased'. So why should responses to that work refrain from any political bias? It is not that Mr Palmer wants to present an objective scientific study into Britten's biography; he is presenting a documentary, and in that genre personal points of view are very common.

Particularly Mr Palmer's reference to our invasion of Iraq might for some stick like a fishbone in their throat. They dislike his reference to the political debate that lured us recently into killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi people (on false premises mind you). But how are we, then, to understand some of the most important ideas expressed by Britten, if we are not allowed to look at our present human condition? How are we to learn anything from WWII if we cannot extrapolate what we learn to today's wars?

You may not share Mr Palmer's political viewpoint. That's o.k. But that in itself does not diminish his right to express it, and it does not diminish the value of his attempt to show how Britten's work is still relevant today.
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