Vertigo Releasing has announced the acquisition of BENEDICTION for the UK and Ireland, as well as Australia and New Zealand in partnership with Rialto. BENEDICTION is written and directed by BAFTA Award Nominee Terence Davies (A Quiet Passion, Sunset Song). The film stars BAFTA Award Nominee Jack Lowden (Dunkirk, Mary Queen of Scots), BAFTA Award Winner Simon Russell Beale (The Death of Stalin, Vanity Fair), Academy Award® and BAFTA Award Winner Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), and Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, The Railway Man). The film will be released in Spring 2022, having had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and UK Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.
BENEDICTION explores the turbulent life of First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon, played by Lowden and Capaldi during different stages of his life. Sassoon 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. His story is one of a troubled man in a fractured world, searching for peace and self acceptance, something which speaks as meaningfully to the modern world as it did then.
Vertigo Releasing acquired the rights from Bankside Films, who are handling international sales. Vertigo’s Edward Caffrey and Yana Georgieva of Bankside negotiated the deals. Vertigo plans to release BENEDICTION widely in cinemas in Spring 2022.
Rupert Preston, CEO of Vertigo Releasing, said, “It’s a thrill and an honour to be working with Terence Davies, one of the UK’s finest filmmakers, on this beautifully evocative and powerful film.” Kelly Rogers, CEO of Rialto Distribution Australia/NZ, added, “BENEDICTION is timely, powerful, and vastly important work and we’re expecting strong results as British films of such a high calibre are well-received in our part of the world; we’d expect nothing less from Terence Davies’ wonderfully moving film.”
Stephen Kelliher, Managing Director of Bankside Films, stated, “We are delighted to partner with Vertigo Releasing on the UK theatrical release of BENEDICTION which comes from one of British cinema’s finest voices. Terence Davies has created an intensely beautiful and deeply poignant study of the complex and utterly compelling life of the brilliant poet, Siegfried Sassoon, portrayed by Jack Lowden in a performance which is nothing less than stunning.”
BENEDICTION is produced by Michael Elliott of EMU Films, and financed by the BFI using funds from the National Lottery, BBC Film, Creative England using ERDF funds, M.Y.R.A. Entertainment and LipSync. Executive producers are Lizzie Francke for the BFI, Rose Garnett for BBC Film, Paul Ashton for Creative England, Margarethe Baillou for M.Y.R.A., John Taylor, Walli Ullah and Jim Mooney for EMU Films, Jack Lowden for Reiver Pictures, and Norman Merry and Peter Hampden for LipSync. BENEDICTION was filmed almost entirely on location in the West Midlands.