The True Story of Lili Marlene

Directed by Humphrey Jennings

War Requiem

Directed by Derek Jarman
Screening on Film

Two haunting musical works, both based on poetry of the Great War, form the respective backbones of Jennings’ Lili Marlene and Jarman’s War Requiem. Jennings’ episodic docudrama tells the story of both the WWII-era song “Lili Marleen” and its singer Lale Andersen as the War ravages on, making for a tantalizing blend of contemporary history, some of Jennings’ most powerful battle footage, and a heartstring-pulling tale of the perseverance of the human spirit through music. Jarman’s War Requiem is at its core a poetic music video for Benjamin Britten’s titular mass, and the most persistent visual thread is the story of the poet Wilfred Owen (played by Nathaniel Parker) and his tribulations during World War I. Music, battle, and, as always, British identity are at the forefront for both filmmakers. (War Requiem also features Laurence Olivier, who 48 years earlier had narrated for Jennings, in his final screen role.)


  • The True Story of Lili Marlene

    Directed by Humphrey Jennings.
    UK, 1944, 35mm, black & white, 29 min.

  • War Requiem

    Directed by Derek Jarman.
    With Nathaniel Parker, Tilda Swinton, Laurence Olivier.
    UK, 1989, 35mm, color, 92 min.

Part of film series

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Poets of Pandaemonium:
The Cinema of Humphrey Jennings and Derek Jarman