Words for Battle and The Angelic Conversation are quiet works of contemplation whose expressionistic visual montages are backgrounded by the reading of poetry. In Words for Battle,the reader of works by Milton, Blake, Kipling and others is a young Laurence Olivier, and Judi Dench reads Shakespeare’s deeply personal sonnets in The Angelic Conversation. Jennings’ aim was the stoking of British patriotism while Jarman sought a sort of personal poeticism, but both explore the marriage of poetry and film with a masterful soft touch.
Words for BattleDirected by Humphrey Jennings.
With Laurence Olivier.
UK, 1941, 35mm, black & white, 8 min.
Print source: British Film Institute
The Angelic ConversationDirected by Derek Jarman.
With Paul Reynolds, Phillip Williamson, Judi Dench.
UK, 1985, DCP, color and b&w, 77 min.
DCP source: British Film Institute