A bit of an oddity - in that you can't (clearly) define, or critique, in a usual manner. While you can't fault it technically, it is - as several reviewers...
Jarman’s first sexual experiences with another boy at boarding school were met with severe punishment, arguably his first taste of the repression that would fuel his indignant art. Jarman studied fine arts at the Slade School in the liberating atmosphere of Swinging London and enjoyed early success in painting. Restless, he entered the London film world as a production designer for Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS (1971) and SAVAGE MESSIAH (1972). Jarman began shooting film himself in Super 8, a practice he maintained throughout his life. The small-gauge camera suited Jarman’s diaristic impulses and many of his later works (as well as his numerous short films) incorporated footage from these offhanded explorations.
Jarman’s first feature, SEBASTIANE (1976), was an unabashedly hedonistic reading of Saint Sebastian’s martyrdom. Shot on a miniscule budget and scripted in Latin, the debut attracted attention for its bold vision of erotic freedom and its repression. Jarman’s sophomore effort, JUBILEE (1978), was a more direct provocation of Britain’s status quo. The film imagines Queen Victoria witnessing the deeply ingrained malaise of a then nascent punk movement. In a typically sharp turn, Jarman followed this visionary work with a freely anachronistic adaption of THE TEMPEST (1979). During the years that followed, he struggled to write and fund CARAVAGGIO (1986), a film many regard as his masterpiece. Jarman lent his lush visual sensibility to music videos by Marianne Faithfull, The Smiths and Pet Shop Boys, among others. With THE LAST OF ENGLAND (1988), he economically fused 8mm fragments and dense aural collage for a poetic summons of rage against Margaret Thatcher’s rule.
Jarman was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, something he made public long before it was common to do so. Along with Thatcher’s third term, the diagnosis was the bad news that spurred Jarman to even greater productivity. He painted, published books, planned a characteristically original garden at his Dungeness home and redoubled his efforts as an activist. He also produced six feature films over his last seven years, including EDWARD II (1991), a nervy adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s eponymous play, and WITTGENSTEIN (1993), a beautifully refined life of the philosopher realized in tableaux. Jarman produced his final work, BLUE (1993), when he was losing his eyesight. A devastating rumination on mortality, the film is comprised solely of poetic monologues, music and a non-negotiable monochrome image. Jarman viewed his art as the opportunity to risk honesty to the end and this last testament was as unsparing as any of his films. After his death in 1994, Jarman’s close associates fashioned some of his remaining 8mm effects into GLITTERBUG (1994), a loving portrait of Jarman’s vibrancy as a creator and icon. It would not be the last posthumous tribute to this artist who burnished his aesthetics and politics with something like a spiritual passion.
– Max Goldberg
A Journey to AveburyComposed of fixed scenic views bathed in golden shades of sunset, A JOURNEY TO AVEBURY evokes the solitary experience of a walk. The film is a pure expression of Derek Jarman’s enduring attachment to England’s landscape and heroic past. Avebury’s magnificent Neolithic...Subscribe to to watch now
SebastianeStripped of rank and exiled to a remote Sardinian outpost, Roman soldier and suspected Christian Sebastian (Leonardo Treviglio) becomes the object of his commanding officer Maximus' (Barney James) aggressive desire. As Sebastian turns his back on his fellow soldiers in favor of his own visionary...Subscribe to to watch now
The TempestTHE TEMPEST, the last of William Shakespeare's great plays, was adapted for the screen for the first time by Derek Jarman in 1979. Among the most visionary of modern film artists, Jarman, who died of AIDS in 1994 at age 52, was one of the first directors (outside the pornography circuit) to...Subscribe to to watch now
The Angelic ConversationDerek Jarman's lyrical celebration of gay love set within the context of a series of William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Ethereal Super-8 images slowed to a magical, meditative pace follow the love affair between two men as Dame Judi Dench provides a soothing presence with her...Subscribe to to watch now
CaravaggioJarman’s most profound reflection on art, sexuality and identity retells the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld. CARAVAGGIO incorporates the painter’s precise aesthetic into the movie’s own...Subscribe to to watch now
The Last of EnglandAn apocalyptic roar of a movie, Derek Jarman's dizzying THE LAST OF ENGLAND is a lament for the country he once knew and what he feared it would become. One of Jarman's most experimental and overwhelming works, he has Tilda Swinton stalk through the remnants of industrial...Subscribe to to watch now
War RequiemWAR REQUIEM boldly combines archival footage of war's devastation with Jarman's keen and gifted eye for both the theatrical and the political. As Owen (played by Nathaniel Parker) doggedly struggles to survive on the field of battle in defense of a cause rendered unjust by the human toll it takes...Subscribe to to watch now
WittgensteinA humorous portrait of one of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers. This self-tortured eccentric, who preferred detective fiction and the musicals of Carmen Miranda to Aristotle, is a fitting subject for Derek Jarman’s irreverent imagination. A visually stunning and profoundly...Subscribe to to watch now
BlueIn his final and most daring cinematic statement, Derek Jarman the romantic meets Jarman the iconoclast in a lush soundscape pulsing against a purely blue screen. Laying bare his physical and spiritual state in a narration about his life, his struggle with AIDS and his encroaching blindness, BLUE...Subscribe to to watch now
- Adaptation / Literary / Poetry
- Adaptation / Theatrical / Stage
- Avant-garde / Silent
- Documentary / Biography
- Documentary / Social Issues
- Drama / Biopic
- Drama / Costume Drama
- Drama / Dramedy
- Drama / Melodrama
- Drama / Religious
- Drama / Romantic Drama
- Fantasy / Allegory
- International / European / United Kingdom
- International / European / United Kingdom / British
- LGBT / Documentary
- LGBT / Narrative
- Science Fiction / Post-Apocalypse
- Short / Non-Narrative
- War / WWI
Stunning imagery and sensuality. I'd heard of this film but have just seen it. How fortunate I am.
Odd. Halfway through, one of these Renaissance characters suddenly has an electronic calculator. Didn't really work for me.
Unquestioningly and unapologetically homoerotic, this film seems more to me about the complicated relationships all men have with each other. Men compete for recognition, approval, romance, sex, money, & it...