Long before top quality home entertainment arrived, people in the U.K. would put their Hi-Fi speakers either side of their (poorly equipped for sound) TV sets and have a great picture and great sound. This was normally just done by the BBC. However, for Blue the film was broadcast by Channel 4 (with sound but without commercial breaks) but with a much better soundtrack carried by the BBC on Radio 3. Great stuff.
Stripping cinema of almost everything visual (the screen is simply an unchanging, solid shade of blue) and exploring the art through sound and feeling. But in a way the image is almost the most important. It’s the canvas we project the images onto, images that are in blue. I wonder how the experience would change from color to color. It’s hard to imagine anything but blue.
It's a hard one to watch... I confess I don't always find Jarman's work easy to watch but it still casts a strange magic. This film is challenging not only due to the static frame but the forced meditation it instills as a result of the lack of stimulus beyond the sound. It's rather harrowing and mournful but Jarman is eloquent reaffirming his mastery of the medium(s). I can't help but feel deeply effected by this.
With nothing but a blue screen to look at, Derek Jarman gives you nothing to do but focus on the monologue and symphony of other noises that he plays with. The subject material is bleak and challenging while opening the viewer to have a personal investment to the speaker's trial. It rings especially true for me as well. The film does not read one note, instead it provides moments of absurdism to endear it further.
Although very daring this film didn't quiet hit the mark for me. The use of only audio stimuli is what gave this film any value to me. It's interesting for this main reason. A very interesting use of emotion linked as well. Story caught my attention at moments but left me feeling let down at others.
Take away the Image, "the prison of the soul", & what's left? Everything. "Blue", Jarman's everything, "transcends the solemn geography of human limitations." Image limits the world to what's visible; "Blue is an open door to soul". I don't know what it says about cinema that Blue's the most intimate film I know, but I know what it says about Jarman. A piece of the Infinite made tangible, before he left to join it.
Blue pushes the boundaries of what is considered a performance art of sorts and what is actually film. With only some flickers of the camera and film reel to indicate that there is any movement throughout the film, figuring out what one is watching is confusing. That being said, the color and sound were both mesmerizing and interesting to look at, just not for the length that the film lasted.
This was a film in which I discovered that the glass quality on my monitor really makes a difference. A warmth - a brightness, and a daring that I've never seen in any film - before or since. It is also one of the most difficult to watch. A cross between reflection, horror and the Rats of NIMH. Watch it carefully, give it a chance. The best strategy is to simply listen at first but be aware. Clean your screen.
I'm disappointed I waited so long to "watch" this sapphire mindbender. I always assumed the theoretical dedication would eventually grow tiresome, but the incredible sound design is unlike anything I've ever experienced. I won't soon forget the sense of inescapability — from both life and art — that lingered with me when the film ended.
Jarman was the master of blending the personal with protest, Blue being a deeply personal goodbye mixed with a final set of middle fingers towards the establishment he loathed. No other filmmaker could make this piece, which is easily the greatest comment you can give a work. Masterpiece