Requiem for a Village (1975)

The idyllic, rural past of a Suffolk village is explored through the memories of an old man in this lyrical, poetic film from filmmaker and painter David Gladwell.

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“Requiem for a Village is one of that handful of works which prove that the English poetic genius is fully capable – given the right, rare circumstances – of expressing itself in cinema, as it always has in literature and painting.”
Lindsay Anderson, London Film Festival programme, 1975

Although better known for his work as the editor for Lindsay Anderson, David Gladwell has rarely been recognised as the director of a number of extraordinary, ground-breaking films exploring Britain's rural traditions and the undying power of memory, of which Requiem for a Village is arguably the finest example.

With its lingering shots of the English countryside, extreme slow motion photography and sequences of the dead rising from their graves, Requiem for a Village was made with finance from the BFI Production Board, for whom Gladwell had previously completed a number of short experimental films. Gladwell would go on to make his second feature – the little-seen adaptation of Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of a Survivor, starring Julie Christie – in 1981.

Gladwell's film has been cited by Sight & Sound as an example of a film depicting ‘Old, Weird, Britain’, along with A Canterbury Tale (1944), The Wicker Man (1973) and Akenfield (1974).

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