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Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC]

3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

Price: £11.06 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Britten Nocturne [DVD] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Format: Classical, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Tony Palmer
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Nov. 2013
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CEX16X6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,003 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The centenary of Benjamin Britten is marked with a new study by the multi-award-winning director Tony Palmer. It is a dark coda to Palmer's four other Italia Prize winning films with and about Britten, whom many now regard as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.

This extraordinary new film explores Britten's uneasy relationship to the wider world. The bloodiest century in history profoundly affected Britten, not just because he was a committed pacifist, but on a much deeper level. What is the role of the artist in such a troubled world? What are his responsibilities? What is the nature of creativity itself? What is its function? Does it have a function?

Man's inhumanity to Man now, and always. This is the subject matter which preoccupied Britten and that is the subject of this film.

"I have rarely seen such a profoundly troubling film. Palmer is a master, and this is his masterpiece." - Simon Heffer

"Nothing quite prepares us for the ferocity and daring, and the intensely subjective rapture, of Palmer's work that still has to be classified as 'documentary'." - David Thomson, The Biographical Dictionary of Film

Review

I have rarely seen such a profoundly troubling film. Palmer is a master, and this is his masterpiece. --Simon Heffer

The film is deeply powerful, if harrowing. I'll be haunted by its images and the potent use of Britten's music for quite some time, and my depth of understanding of Britten has considerably deepened. It's a work of art in itself. --Victoria Bevan, Albion Media

Nothing quite prepares us for the ferocity and daring, and the intensely subjective rapture, of Palmer's work that still has to be classified as 'documentary'. --David Thomson, The Biographical Dictionary of Film

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I saw Tony Palmer present this film at the Chichester Film Festival, and he talked about it for about twenty minutes. He started with a warning, saying that if the audience was expecting a feel-good biography of a great English composer, the composer of the The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, then this would not be the film they were expecting. He said that when he was asked recently by Peter Pears' niece (I think) whether he was thinking of making a film for Britten's upcoming centenary he answered no, because he had already made four films related to Britten. She replied that that was a shame because she thought that Palmer probably knew more about Britten than anyone else. He went away and looked at the material he had and suddenly he was dumbstruck: he hadn't seen what now seemed to him the most central aspect of Britten - his strong feeling of contempt for the folly of humanity, particularly for the folly of war. With this perception Palmer made this film. It is an impassioned anti-war polemic and possibly Palmer's most bold and moving film. He has been invited to the White House to show the film to the Obamas.
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As a lifelong Britten fan I love anything that explains him and his music, and Tony Palmer does this so well.

My only criticism of this film is that there is too much exposure of the horrors of the concentration camps when illustrating the War Requiem and the Nocturne. I know people who would instantly switch off because they cannot bear to see such things, and as this footage is used at the very beginning of the film, they could easily not watch the rest of it, which is excellent.
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Format: DVD
Everyone who knew him was aware that Benjamin Britten had a very "dark" side to his complex and creative character. In this DVD Nocturne the brilliant documentary maker Tony Palmer has addressed the pacifist elements of Britten's difficult personality with an unfettered force. This powerful and courageous documentary pulls no punches and will stand the test of time. This should be seen by all lovers of Britten's music and lovers of peace.
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Format: DVD
I think Tony Palmer has lost the plot. Here we have yet another documentary with Palmer using the same images that he used from his Vaughan Williams film onwards; fitting music to images of death and destruction. This film says more about Palmer's view of the world than Britten's.
Palmer's earlier documentary, A time there was, concentrates on Britten and is highly recommended, as are the Bridcut documentaries Britten's Children and Britten's Endgame.
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 July 2015
Format: DVD
In this film we hear Benjamin Britten say, “Night and dreams. I have had a strange fascination with that world. It can release many things which one thinks had better not be released.” Director Tony Palmer writes, “This extraordinary new film explores Britten’s uneasy relationship to the wider world … Man’s inhumanity to Man – now, and always. This is the subject matter which preoccupied Britten, and that is the subject of this film.”

Released to celebrate the centenary of Britten’s birth, this additional Tony Palmer film on this composer lasts for 135 minutes. Relying heavily on the music of Britten’s ‘Nocturne’, it focusses on the composer’s brave pacifist stance. With scenes from the two world wars, 1990s Yugoslavia, and recent events in Iraq, Palmer shows us some shocking scenes that perfectly fit Britten’s noble music. The key to understanding Britten’s music, we learn, is that much of it takes a moral point of view.

There is much here that has already been seen before. Palmer goes over a lot that is already contained in other films on Britten – some of them Palmer’s own – with the usual suspects as talking heads. But there is also much that is new, such as the Shostakovich connection, and the organisation of the premier of the ‘War Requiem’. The film features much archive film of Britten and his unmistakable voice is a leading participant.

Palmer adopts his usual and effective method of lighting the orchestral sections and soloists. The film is beautifully shot but could have been better edited. Overall, the film lacks cohesion: is it on Britten the man, Britten the composer, Britten the pacifist, the Nocturne itself? Of course it is all these, but throughout the film we jump from one to the other – his life, his music, his ideals – in a somewhat haphazard way.

Nevertheless, this is often a moving documentary that succeeds in illuminating an essential aspect of Britten’s outlook on the world.
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The title of this documentary says it all. Night...darkness...A profoundly disturbing but nevertheless very valid and absorbing documentary. There were new insights, even for lovers of his music (if not of the man) and Tony Palmer has found yet more to add to his seemingly inexhaustible source of Britten material. But one does not come away feeling in any way that this has been a comfortable viewing experience.
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