Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) stars as WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon, alongside Peter Capaldi, Geraldine James, Kate Phillips, Gemma Jones, Calam Lynch, Anton Lesser, Jeremy Irvine, Ben Daniels, Lia Williams, Jude Akuwudike, Suzanne Bertish and Simon Russell Beale.
Following its world premiere at TIFF and its berth at San Sebastian where it won the Jury Prize, the film is debuting in the UK tonight at the London Film Festival.
Roadside, which struck the deal with UK sales firm Bankside, plans to release the film theatrically in spring 2022.
Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Davies, the biopic explores the turbulent life of WWI poet Sassoon. The writer and soldier was a complex man who survived the horrors of fighting in the First World War and was decorated for his bravery but who became a vocal critic of the government’s continuation of the war when he returned from service. His poetry was inspired by his experiences on the Western Front, and he became one of the leading war poets of the era. Adored by members of the aristocracy as well as stars of London’s literary and stage world, he embarked on affairs with several men as he attempted to come to terms with his homosexuality. At the same time, broken by the horror of war, he made his life’s journey a quest for salvation, trying to find it within the conformity of marriage and religion.
Davies is well known for movies including A Quiet Passion, The Deep Blue Sea, Of Time and the City, and Distant Voices, Still Lives.
“We’re huge admirers of Terence Davies’ films and are thrilled to have the chance to bring this beautiful, lush and moving portrait of Sassoon and post-WWI British society to North American audiences next year,” said Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.
Stephen Kelliher of Bankside Films added: “We are thrilled to be bringing the critically acclaimed Benediction to North American audiences with our partners, Roadside Attractions. Their wealth of experience in positioning prestige films sits perfectly with the latest award winning work from Terence Davis and we are excited to see their campaign roll out in 2022.”
Pic is produced by Michael Elliott of EMU Films whose recent credits include Steve McQueen’s Small Axe films, and Alan Moore’s scripted debut The Show. Finance came from BFI, BBC Film, M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, Lipsync and Creative England.
Executive producers are Lizzie Francke for the BFI, Rose Garnett for BBC Film, Margarethe Baillou for M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, John Taylor, Walli Ullah and Jim Mooney for EMU Films, Jack Lowden for Reiver Pictures, Norman Merry and Peter Hampden for LipSync and Paul Ashton for Creative England.
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