Written & Directed by: #KaineLevy
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
On the eve of September 3rd 1939, when Britain has just declared war on Hitler’s German forces, sending the country into what would become its second major global conflict in a little more than two decades, a love affair between a young Jamaican farmhand (Davids) (with nothing to his name except a filthy mattress in an outbuilding where he lays his head every night) and a wealthy English girl (Wood) is tested not only by the prejudices of society but also the young man’s courageous sense of duty and search for respect.
It’s great to see a screenplay that works on many levels, Levy should be proud of what he has achieved here. On the surface, it may seem like a simple tale of forbidden love, the kind of Romeo and Juliet story that we have seen many times before, but that’s merely the tip of the iceberg. Levy has injected his film with so many layers and a plethora of themes that sadly are just as pertinent today as they were then.
Racial prejudice, classism and segregation, are unfortunately still all relevant social issues and Levy seems to be making a statement that even today we are a nation and a world with much to learn from our very chequered past. While perhaps the film could have leaned into these themes a bit more (some of the issues Levy alludes to seem to be inferred more often that they are implied), it's clear that everything Levy seems to want to say with this film has been purposefully thought out and although subtle at times, it’s all there for you to find. Others are more obvious, one such example being the words of Neville Chamberlain echoed throughout the film, where Levy is clearly signifying that their sentiments are just as applicable to ourselves today as well as the tyrants we faced back then.
“For it is evil things that we shall be fighting against; brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. And I am certain that the right will prevail”
Asides from its brilliantly crafted screenplay, Farewell Waltz manages to be a filmmaking triumph too. The look and feel of the period are not only captured by a delightful sense of colour and beautiful cinematography, but also the resounding score from the accompanying Budapest Art Orchestra, all allowing us to feel somehow transported back through time. Finally, all this hard work is rounded off nicely by two commanding yet incredibly tender performances from our lead duo, who manage to convey every important nuance of Levy’s script despite a complete absence of dialogue, a true testament to their abilities and passion for their craft.
Intended as a very fitting tribute to real life soldier Walter Tull, but Farewell Waltz is also a brilliantly crafted film with a lot of heart, passion and very important things to say.
Watch the trailer here