A co-production between BBC and Netflix, Requiem, the 2018 thriller revolves around the life of Matilda Gray, a UK-based cellist whose mother’s suicide leads to the uncovering of many revelations, including the suicide’s link to the disappearance of a young Welsh girl more than 20 years ago. Matilda then proceeds to discover the relation between the two, leading her to question her own identity. Written by Kris Mrksa and Blake Ayshford, and directed by Mahalia Belo, the series consists of both supernatural as well as thriller elements.
The majority of the sequences from this spine-chilling thriller are filmed in Wales. When asked why, the writer Kris Mrksa remarked, “When I visited Wales, I fell in love with the place. It has a mystical feel, and the history there is very palpable. There is a druidic vibe there, too. Matilda and Hal are quickly drawn into that world and enmeshed in it. “The Welsh town becomes a character in its own right. It’s the perfect setting for this drama.” The production was even funded by the Welsh Government. Their government ran a special funding scheme to secure work for Welsh native crews and companies, to promote Wales on a global scale. Therefore, the entire crew being of Welsh nationality added an important nostalgic element to the series, making it equally important to everyone involved.
The filming of the show primarily took place in Newport- South East Wales and Dolgellau, which is North West Wales. Despite being set in a fictional village, namely Penllynith, the locations were mostly Welsh and British. Wales here becomes a character of its own, being majorly important to the plot of the series, a majority of the storyline revolves around Wales and its culture. Some of the familiar locations Welsh natives may recognize include St. David’s Hall at Cardiff, Cefn Tilla Court, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, etc. The North-West of Wales town has a population of under 3,000 and was thought to be a good spot to show rural Wales off, with all its culture and heritage.
I believe rural Wales was chosen to be the primary setting for the series to deepen its mystery and suspense. One doesn’t expect much to go wrong in over-populated cities, but a grim, lonely and aloof setting such as that of Wales, does incite specific feelings in the minds of the viewers. The cast and crew also mention eerie and spooky incidents on the sets, which can be attributed to the dingy setting and locations. Therefore, Wales, in contrast to London, proves to be a better and more apt setting for the thriller storyline of ‘Requiem’ as it builds suspense and adds to the enigma of the plot. The series would not have had the critical acclaim it does now if the location had not been chosen wisely. The setting makes or breaks the success of the plot, and here, a very good job was done in selecting Wales as the chief location.