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Hedd Wyn (movie)

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Film
German title Hedd Wyn
Original title Hedd Wyn
Country of production Great Britain
Original language Welsh
English
Year of publication 1992
Length 123 minutes
Staff
Directed by Paul Turner
Script Alan Llwyd
Production Shan Davies
Music John E.R. Hardy
Camera Ray Orton
Edited by Chris Lawrence
Cast
  • Huw Garmon: Ellis Evans
  • Emlyn Gomer: Morris “Moi” Davies
  • Sue Roderick: Lizzie Roberts
  • Judith Humphreys: Jini Owen
  • Nia Dryhurst: Mary Catherine Hughes
  • Catrin Fychan: Magi Evans
  • Ceri Cunnington: Bob Evans
  • Llio Silyn: Mary Evans
  • Grey Evans: Evan Evans
  • Gwen Ellis: Mary Evans
  • Emma Kelly: Enid Evans
  • Sioned Jones Williams: Cati Evans
  • Llyr Joshua: Ifan Evans
  • Angharad Roberts: Ann Evans
  • Geraint Roberts: R. Williams Parry
  • Gruffudd Aled: Griff Jones
  • Derec Brown: Reverend J.D. Richards
  • Arwel Gruffydd: William Morris
  • J.O. Jones: Vicar
  • Sian Summers: Gwen Williams
  • Gwyn Vaughan: Owen Hughes
  • Roger McKern: Sergeant
  • Dafydd Edmwnd: Sergeant

Hedd Wyn is a 1992 British film drama directed by Paul Turner and shot predominantly in Welsh.

Storyline

At the national Welsh poetry competition Eisteddfod in 1917, the poet under the pen name “Fleur-de-lis” is declared the winner. Several times the director of the competition asks the poet, if he is present, to stand up. At the same time, the author of the poem, Ellis Evans, is seriously wounded during the Third Battle of Flanders.

The year is 1913: farmer’s son Ellis Evans writes poetry under the pseudonym “Hedd Wyn” and enters local eisteddfods, having just won his third poetry chair. His dream, however, is to win the national competition, with his friend William Morris helping him rewrite the lines. Evans begins a relationship with the older Lizzie Roberts, who works as a maid. He promises her marriage, but their relationship cools when World War I begins and Evans refuses to volunteer for military service. He knows he could not kill people; Lizzie, however, thinks he is a coward and begins an affair with a British soldier. Evans also gets nowhere with poetry: the National Eisteddfod is postponed for a year in 1914 because of the war.

During a visit to the cinema, Evans meets the young Jini Owen; the two become a couple. Mary Catherine Hughes, his little sister’s teacher, also becomes his close friend, with whom he can exchange ideas about his poems. She encourages him to continue writing, even though he is criticized for his work at the 1915 National Eisteddfod and fails to reach any of the top places. When Evans’s good friend Griff falls at the front, Mary advises him to write about the war, as everyone, whether at the front or at home, has experiences of war.

Despite hostility, Evans refuses to participate in the war. Lizzie admits that he was correct in his opposition to the war. She dies of tuberculosis shortly afterwards and Evans dedicates a poem to her. At the 1916 Eisteddfod, Evans comes second. That same year he is conscripted because his father has to send one of his sons to war and Evans wants to protect his 17-year-old brother Bob. After training camp ends, Evans is able to return to his parents’ farm for a short time, but then embarks on the long march to France with his unit. Along the way, he uses the time to write. He writes the long ode Yr Arwr (Eng: The Hero), which he eventually submits to the national Eisteddfod under the pseudonym “Fleur-de-lis”. Shortly thereafter, his unit is deployed to the front lines of the Third Battle of Flanders. During an assault, Evans is hit by a shell and dies in hospital shortly afterwards. A letter reaches his parents announcing the death of their son. Jini Owens receives a final poem from Evans in the mail, promising her his return at the end of the war. Some time later, a letter arrives informing the family that Evans has won the national eisteddfod. A short time later, the richly decorated poet’s chair is delivered and placed in the Evans’ home alongside the smaller poet’s chairs Evans had already won.

Production

Hedd Wyn is based on the life and death of Welsh poet Ellis Evans, who became known under the pseudonym Hedd Wyn (“White Peace”). Filming took place in Wales. The costumes were created by Celia Pye, and the film buildings were by Phil Rawsthorne. The film was produced for television by Pendefig Ty Cefn and Sianel 4 Cymru (S4C) and first broadcast on S4C on 1 November 1992. The film also screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1992. In Germany, the film was first broadcast on 15 July 1996 on arte, with subtitles.

Criticism

For film-dienst, Hedd Wyn was an “artist’s biography that memorializes Wales’s cultural independence.”[1]

Awards

In 1993, the film won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Television Drama. In 1994, the film won six BAFTA Cymru Awards, including Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay (Welsh). The film received a BAFTA Cymru nomination for Best Make-Up. As a British entry, Hedd Wyn was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 1994. It was the first Welsh film to receive an Oscar nomination in this category.

Web links

  • Hedd Wyn in the Internet Movie Database (english)

Individual references

  1. Hedd Wyn. In: encyclopediaof international film. Filmdienst, retrieved 2 March 2017. template:LdiF/maintenance/accessused