Sebastiane is a fetish festival: sand and sweat - check; water and golden bodies - check; slow motion body madness - check; lust and love - check; muscles and fur - check. To me, it's an exercise of the male figure - and it's beautiful! But some things are lacking... a lot is lacking to consider this a masterpiece. I really enjoyed some scenes and the colors of this, though.
Jarman has a knack for adding incongruous elements in his films (trains in Caravaggio anyone?) so the historically accurate questions are not important. But, my oh my, this is a great film. The cinematography is one of the best I have seen. The blocking and compositions in the last scene is immaculate. Sebastiane's performance bothered me a bit. I suppose that's the worst part, but it is not a deal breaker.
Sent in exile on a island without women, christian soldier Sebastiane rejects his centurion and meets his fate. Jarman's debut feature is a provocative poem on carnal and spiritual love that investigates the masochistic grounds of unconditional religious devotion. Striking frame composition and unexpected tongue-in-cheek elements (Cecili Milli!) more than make up for low-budget and lack of synchronous dialogue.
Derek Jarman exposed the homoerotic undercurrents of Hollywood's Biblical epics in his raucous debut feature which recounts the tale of Saint Sebastian, a Christian soldier who refused to fight, and was put to death despite falling into the commanding officer's romantic favor. Essentially an unapologetic piece of gay erotica, the film is an energetic, if ultimately aimless, exercise in cinematic style.
A transgressive retelling of the story of St. Sebastian. The movie's great strength is its impeccable sense for movement and motion. An interesting vision of Christ contra Rome. Kudos for being all in Latin!! Recommended for spiritually-conflicted Bataille scholars (a bit redundant...) and folk who resonated with that belle&sebastian (huh!) line "she was into S&M and Bible study/not everyone's cup of tea"
Jarman's feature debut is gorgeous & fascinating. Main man Sebastiane's sexual obsession with his God links gay love with religious devotion in a way that will make conservative Christians uncomfortable. Jarman also finds time to comment on the dangers of a fixation with beauty & to parody heterosexual culture. On a more shallow note, there's plenty of eye candy for someone attracted to men. Overall, great film.