The BBC World War I Centenary season was announced at the end of 2013, and is to last until the end of 2018, comprising of 130 newly commissioned radio and television programmes and lasting over 2500 hours. So far this extensive line-up has included TV dramas such as Crimson Field, 37 Days and Our World War, (and coming up we can expect exciting things from The Passing Bells), documentaries which include Paxman’s Britain’s Great War, Nial Ferguson’s The Pity of War and landmark radio drama Homefront. Among the latest British films, however, this is certainly one to get excited about.
Testament of Youth, directed by television darling James Kent (The White Queen, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister) and written by Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls, Death Comes to Pemberley), stars Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina) as Vera Brittain, an intelligent and spirited girl who overcomes her family prejudices to gain a scholarship to Oxford. Once there she falls for her brother’s dazzling friend Roland Leighton (played by Kit Harington, of Game of Thrones fame) and the two prepare to enjoy their literary pursuits. The First World War presses in, however, and their lives are thrown into disruption.
The film boasts an excellent cast; Vikander herself has seven new film releases: reviews for her past performances have been largely praiseworthy, and her movies coming out this year include Son Of A Gun, Tulip Fever and Ex Machina. In Testament of Youth Vikander all be receiving support from Dominic West (Pride, The Wire), Hayley Atwell (The Duchess, Captain America), Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Fall), and twice Oscar-nominated Emily Watson (War Horse, Breaking the Waves).
If early reviews are anything to go by, this should be a welcome complement to the BBC’s so far excellent commemoration season. One of the most moving new films out at cinema and picturehouse venues across London this month, Testament of Youth is certainly necessary watching.
Courthault Talk: Testament of Youth
Rosie Alison (producer), Mark Bostridge (Vera Brittain’s biographer), and Joanna Scanlan (who plays Vera Brittain’s aunt) will be giving a talk entitled Filming ‘Testament Of Youth’, on Wednesday the 21st of January at the Courtault Institute of Art, 7pm. The three will be discussing the challenges of adapting Brittain’s memoir, a classic of First World War literature, into film. A must for any film-makers or fans of Brittain's searing work.
|What||Testament of Youth|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
16 Jan 15 – 16 Apr 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more information|