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... 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 »
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 »
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. ... See full summary »
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 »
Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (... See full summary »
The tumultuous and adventurous life of Michelangelo Merisi, controversial artist, called by Fate to become the immortal Caravaggio. A violent genius that will dare to defy the ideal vision ... See full summary »
Elena Sofia Ricci,
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 »
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 »
Fictionalized biopic of famed 17th century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio. As a young man, he gained the support of Cardinal Del Monte and Caravaggio proceeded to develop a new style of painting giving a more realistic view of the world in which he lived. He also begins love affairs with one of his models, Ranuccio as well as with Ranuccio's girlfriend Lena. Their relationship leads to murder and deceit. Written by
A typewriter is used, a saxophone is played, a train and steamship hooter are heard. In addition one of the characters plays with a (very advanced for the time of the movie) credit card-sized calculator with beeping buttons. These items are included deliberately as a stylistic decision of the filmmakers, not "goofs" of people unaware of the absence of these items in the 1500s and 1600s. See more »
Few moviegoers would know that the real Caravaggio was a convicted criminal and even by today's standards, a hell raiser. Rome's police records list fourteen citations in six years, from public nuisance to several violent assaults. In May of 1606 he murdered a friend, one Ranuccio Tomassoni in a sword fight. Added to these lurid details, his sexual interests show that he freely drifted from the Vatican's ordained model. This makes Caravaggio an interesting person, but a highly complex candidate for a biographic investigation on film.
While Derek Jarman's film captures (with delightful conceit) many of the surface details of Caravaggio's life, it's a work of startling genius because it succeeds on a far more profound level. Jarman tells the story of Caravaggio rather like Caravaggio would paint, infusing it (effortlessly) with the central themes of his life's deepest convictions, creating a portrait which reflects the subject and the artist with equal relevance. What's more, many of the same themes that have been identified with both artists - sexuality, transcendence, violence, censorship, politics (religious/sexual) and the tumultuous source of creative identity are present in both men. It works as very few films do. This is also an unusually accessible film for Derek Jarman. The performances are entertaining and it's filmed with astounding beauty and simplicity. This film is a masterpiece.
However, because of it's homosexual themes and personal tone, "Caravaggio" is likely to be appreciated only by those viewers who weary of film as simple diversion and long for something more challenging. This is a powerful artistic statement, but it flew under the radar during a decade of British film-making where "Gandhi", "Chariots of Fire" and "A Room With A View" represented the best of what was being made. While those films are great in their way, this film value is greater in terms of bravura and personal expression. See it if you can.
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