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The Angelic Conversation (1985)

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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 »



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Complete credited cast:
Paul Reynolds
Phillip Williamson
Shakespeare's Sonnets read by (voice)
Dave Baby
Timothy Burke
Simon Costin
Christopher Hobbs
Philip McDonald
Toby Mott
Steve Randall
Robert Sharp
Tony Wood


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 elemental: boulders and smaller rocks, the sea, smoke or fog, and a garden. The man is on an odyssey following his love. But he must first, as the sonnet says, know what conscience is. So, before he can be united with his love, he must purify himself. He does so, bathing a tattooed figure (an angel, perhaps) and humbling himself in front of this being. He also prepares himself with water and through his journey and his meditations. Finally, he is united with his fair friend. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

28 February 1987 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Angelic Conversation  »

Box Office


£35,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Edited from The Pantheon (1978) See more »


Sea Interludes
from "Peter Grimes"
Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Montagu Slater
Performed by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Conducted by Colin Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

Not Jarman's Best
2 August 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Derek Jarman is a brilliant filmmaker, and along with Peter Greenaway, probably the most important British filmmaker of the Post WW2 era.

The Angelic Conversation, while a quality work of extraordinary textural richness, isn't Jarman's best. The problem here lies partially in the editing. It's far too aesthetically disjointed and the optical effects seem cheap and reaching. Maybe it's because a million so-called experimental filmmakers have achieved similar results to a much less pointed effect. That kind of copying unfortunately makes this film seem tired, though the soundtrack and script are spectacular.

It is also Jarman's most personal film aside from perhaps, Blue. This is unfortunate, because Jarman has always been most effective when he looks outward. Sebastione, for instance, was a brilliant historical film that literally transports you back in time and The Garden was a scathing political portrait of fin de siecle England under Thatcher. See those before you watch this, but all Jarman is interesting. Coil fans will also appreciate their contribution to this film.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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