Tony Benn: Will and Testament is a moving look back at the politician’s life. Benn, who died in March this year, was a pivotal politician in British leftwing politics and at 88 years old, he was the longest serving Labour MP in history.
Released posthumously, director Skip Kite’s film takes a deeply personal look at the charismatic politician through intimate interviews, anecdotes and photographic stills and footage from Benn’s own extensive archive. Kite’s interviews with Benn present him looking directly into the camera as he recounts past events, which serves to create an emotional connection between him and audience, drawing them into what he is saying and adding an immediacy to his words. Kite also includes a few additional flourishes, which help make the film feel large in scope and thoroughly cinematic.
Filmed over the last two years of his life (and running 93 minutes long ) Will and Testament serves to provide an intimate and reflective glimpse rather than an in depth documentary of Benn’s private and political life. The film explores pivotal events of his political career, from the Thatcher years and the miners’ strike to the anti-nuclear movement. The latter event presented a political U-turn for Benn with him candidly announcing in the film: “I’m not ashamed of mistakes; that’s how you learn!” What evidently emerges is Benn’s commitment to his socialist ideals and his continued resistance to the right: “The alternatives are socialism or barbarism and I know which side I’m on”.
Benn participated in the making of the film and it features the last ever interviews with the formidable politician. Will and Testament is both personal and poignant; a fitting tribute to a truly enigmatic political titan.
This disc includes an informative documentary from director Skip Kite, Tony Benn’s Christmas message and the politician’s last-ever filmed interview. This is a DVD package that adds much to an already impressive documentary.