This film is part of Free


Imagining the unimaginable through the eyes of Wilfred Owen, combining reconstructions of Owen’s war experiences with animation and readings from his poems and letters.

Biopic 2000 14 mins

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Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Peter Kershaw’s 2000 film Wilfred takes as its starting point lines from the preface to his first volume of poems, written by Wilfred Owen, "My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity." With a mixture of re-enactments from the war experiences of Owen, and some powerful animation, the film explores Owen’s personal witness to the war, using text from his letters and poems, wonderfully read by Derek Jacobi, Edward Fox, Michael Higgs and Tony Harrison.

This award winning film was made by film producer, director and writer Peter M. Kershaw, with his Yorkshire based independent production company, Duchy Parade Films. It was the first UK 35mm film to be post-produced in its entirety using the digital intermediate process. The film was launched at Cannes International Film Festival and subsequently screened in festivals worldwide. Central is The Parable of the Old Man and the Young – written in the spring of 1918 whilst recuperating in Ripon, shortly before being killed by machine gun – also used by Benjamin Britten in his War Requiem: there is no God for those that wage war. The film closes with Owen’s last written lines, Spring Offensive, read by Derek Jacobi.