Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman – Caravaggio (1986)

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Quote:
When experimental director Derek Jarman was serving as production designer on 1973’s The Devils, that film’s director, Ken Russell, was already established as a radical master of the biopic, turning historical and pop culture personalities into grist for his own obsessions and visual quirks. Oddly, it took Jarman over a decade to try his hand at the same approach with Caravaggio, a visually overwhelming examination of the famous painter who redefined the use of light in painting and scandalized the church by portraying sacred figures as dirty, commonplace peasants. Of course, the painter’s life was no less remarkable; a ruffian prone to fighting, gambling, and copulating apparently every waking moment he wasn’t holding a paintbrush, Caravaggio could be read in many ways as a prototype for today’s modern celebrity. Read More »

Derek Jarman – Glitterbug (1994)

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Review

Glitterbug consists of film strips shot by Jarman with his Super-8 between 1971 and 1986, a format he was constantly experimenting with and made use of in the film collage In the Shadow of the Sun (1981) for example, it is an endless montage of loosely connected Super-8 sequences put together alternatively into an impressionistic shimmer of beauty, alternatively with an aggressive, rhetorical edge. The Last of England (1987), similar in a technical way, became even more famous. It was a devastating criticism of Thatcherism and of what Jarman per-ceived to be the decline of Britain. Jarman’s most distinct feature was his constant role as a man against the tide his attacks against anything considered to be part of the Establishment, whether it concerned sexual preferences or political power structures. The boldness re-appears in Glitterbug, where images from Jarman’s own everyday life in London in the early 70’s, with rooms filled with anti-cultural fetishes from the Swinging London era, are mixed with various documentaries from the making of some of Jarman’s notorious successes: the gay film Sebastiane (1975) and the punk protest Jubilee (1977). Read More »

Derek Jarman – Blue (1993)

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A year before director Derek Jarman succumbed fully to AIDS, he made his last film. In Blue, the color blue is all there is to see as Jarman tries to bring the audience into his vision-impaired world. Jarman offers his insights on life, love, disease, the meaning of art, and the symbology of the color blue over a blue screen. Actors, including Tilda Swinton and John Quentin, also read from Jarman’s journals and poetry.
-AMG Review Read More »