An unseen woman recites Shakespeare's sonnets - fourteen in all - as a man wordlessly seeks his heart's desire. The photography is stop-motion, the music is ethereal, the scenery is often ... See full summary »
Queen Elizabeth I travels to late twentieth-century Britain to discover a tawdry and depressing landscape where life mostly seems aimless and is anyway held cheap. Three post-punk girls ... See full summary »
Frank Ripploh is a bit of a rascal: he's a bearded and shaggy-haired teacher, and he's gay with a very active sex life and an interest in making films. He keeps his personal life and ... See full summary »
Against a plain, unchanging blue screen, a densely interwoven soundtrack of voices, sound effects and music attempt to convey a portrait of Derek Jarman's experiences with AIDS, both ... See full summary »
A film with no spoken dialogue, just follows the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem, which include WWI soldier poet Wilfred Owen's poems reflecting the war's horrors. It ... See full summary »
A dramatization, in modern theatrical style, of the life and thought of the Viennese-born, Cambridge-educated philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), whose principal interest was the ... See full summary »
Young and handsome Sergio works the night shift as a trash collector in Lisbon, Portugal. He can't force himself to connect with his pretty female co-worker Fatima, who displays an avid ... See full summary »
João Pedro Rodrigues
Prospero, a potent magician, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He's in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence ... See full summary »
300 A.D. : the Roman Sebastianus is exiled to a remote outpost populated exclusively by men. Weakened by their desires, these men turn to homosexual activities to satisfy their needs. However, Sebastianus becomes the target of lust for a homosexual centurion, but he rejects the man's advances. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
It takes a full minute for Sebastian to pour his jug of water onto himself, a seemingly long and impossibly protracted amount of time. He finally sets the jug down but then proceeds to continue his shower with water hitting him from somewhere overhead. (Presumably he had just trained the desert air how to accommodate him by demonstrating a desired effect, and the desert air obliges by squeezing copious amounts of water from itself to wash him.) See more »
Not being overly familiar with Bible stories or Christian history (and the fact that the opening rolling titles are impossible to read), the factuality of this film will escape me. But Jarman is a visual artist, and his film has more in common with the many paintings of Sebastian than it does with factual storytelling. Jarman's ornate decor can sometimes feel dull and bland -- his films can seem lifeless, bogged down by the set decoration. This calls to mind "Velvet Goldmine," a complex film I didn't care for, even though I love Todd Haynes; I want to like Jarman -- I love his books -- and this is the first film of his that I've been actively enthusiastic about. It has much more to do with sex than history; and it's apolitical and political at the same time.
Consider the film's approach to homosexuality. No one is defined as being a homosexual, so that at first seems like a de-politicization of sex -- all there are are acts, and acts are not political. But at the same time, it's acts that are disdained and made illegal, and without the "political" approach to defining (and thereby defending) people as homosexuals, it leaves the acts open to censorship and condemnation -- politicization. As a film itself, though, it is not pedantic or accusatory -- in fact, Sebastian is killed, it seems, because of the lust of Severus, who he refuses. Like the Christian God who Sebastian loves and sees as more beautiful than Adonis, Severus wants Sebastian. But it isn't just condemning lust, either -- Anthony and Adrian are openly lovers, and the abundance of male nudity, and the eroticism of it by Jarman, could hardly be called prudish. In fact, there is a scene at night of the men grabbing each other, their dark-lit bodies, and the soldier pressing his near-naked, muscled body on his lover, that still seems shocking in its passion today.
It's more like a lyrical tone poem, and Brian Eno's New Age-y score goes well with that. Jarman isn't a bully, and when the crucifying comes around he doesn't bludgeon us -- first we see a close-up of his face, as arrows pierce through Sebastian's skin, silently with the exception of the wind, and Jarman gives us one final distorted image to meditate on the death of the one we can't have. 9/10
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