A nearly wordless visual narrative intercuts two main stories and a couple of minor ones. A woman, perhaps the Madonna, brings forth her baby to a crowd of intrusive paparazzi; she tries to flee them. Two men who are lovers marry and are arrested by the powers that be. The men are mocked and pilloried, tarred, feathered, and beaten. Loose in this contemporary world of electrical-power transmission lines is also Jesus. The elements, particularly fire and water, content with political power, which is intolerant and murderous. —IMDb
Derek Jarman (January 31, 1942- February 19, 1994), British film director, artist, and writer.
Jarman’s first films were experimental super 8mm shorts, a form he never entirely abandoned, and later developed further (in his films Imagining October (1984), The Angelic Conversation (1985), The Last Of England (1987) and The Garden (1990)) as a parallel to his narrative work.
Jarman made his debut in “overground” narrative filmmaking with the groundbreaking Sebastiane (1976), arguably the first British film to feature positive images of gay sexuality, and the first (and to date, only) film entirely in Latin. He follwed this with the film many regard as his first masterpiece, Jubilee (shot 1977, released 1978), in which Queen Elizabeth I of England is transported forward in time to a desolate and brutal wasteland ruled by her twentieth century namesake. Jubilee was arguably the first UK punk movie, and amongst its cast featured punk groups and figures such as Wayne County… read more
There is an amazing sequence in the Japanese 'making-of' documentary of Tilda Swinton signalling to someone off-camera, becoming more and more frantic and distraught as the scene draws on. Sadly, only a few seconds of this sequence are used in the finished film. Nonetheless, the memory of this performance is so powerful that it overshadows every other image in the film itself.
Generally affecting, if occasionally heavy handed, parabolic tapestry around themes of homosexual persecution and guilt. The sequences of light – more personal moments as Jarman tends his own garden – are more finely judged than the more ponderous allusions to Gethsemane, original sin, etc. Possibly the best of Jarman’s latter-day montage films, although not a conclusive whole.