For its next presentation, the Vernon Film Society is showing the film Testament of Youth, which is especially timely as the movie will be shown so close to Remembrance Day.
It is based on the memoir written by Vera Brittain, who was a nurse during the First World War. Brittain did not complete her memoir until 1933 when it became a classic testimony of the war from a woman’s point of view.
Previously filmed as a TV series in 1979, this remake stars Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as Vera, who portrays the young and headstrong, but ultimately strong woman as she experiences the horrors of war.
Vera fights long and hard against the wishes of her parents to attend Oxford University, but once the war starts she does not want to sit idly by and watch as her brothers, their friends and her fiancée go off to fight. She leaves university to volunteer to work as a nurse. She works tirelessly, experiencing all the griefs of war, as one by one those closest to her are killed and the pillars of her world are shattered. An indefatigable spirit, Vera endures and eventually returns to Oxford, where, determined to find a new purpose, she becomes a peace activist.
Supported by Shirley Williams, Brittain’s daughter, and promoted in the U.K. as part of the First World War commemorations in late 2014, the film features actual veterans of the Afghanistan war who play many of the wounded and blinded soldiers.
“As an intimate epic Testament of Youth has great historical sweep yet remains focused on the human vicissitudes experienced by Vera and her circle. The director supplies the film with a hauntingly poetic visual sense and elicits fine, exacting performances from the able cast,” said Godfrey Cheshire with RogerEbert.com.
Testament of Youth shows Monday, Nov. 2 at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. at the Towne Theatre. Tickets are $7 (cash) at the door and at the Bean Scene.