6.8/10
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9 user 6 critic

The Garden (1990)

Unrated | | Drama | 1990 (USA)
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 »

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Madonna
Johnny Mills ...
Lover
Philip MacDonald ...
Joseph
...
Devil
Spencer Leigh ...
Mary Magdalene / Adam (as Spencer Lee)
Jody Graber ...
Young Boy
Roger Cook ...
Kevin Collins ...
Lover
Dawn Archibald
Milo Bell
Mirabelle La Manchega
Jessica Martin
Jack Birkett ...
Pontius (as Orlando)
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Storyline

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 flee them. Two men who are lovers marry and are arrested by the powers that be. The men are mocked and pilloried, tarred, feathered, and beaten. Loose in this contemporary world of electrical-power transmission lines is also Jesus. The elements, particularly fire and water, content with political power, which is intolerant and murderous. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A kert  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£380,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in The Garden: Making of the Garden (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Russian Orthodox Church Choir
Conducted by Michael Fortunato
Courtesy of IKON Records
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User Reviews

 
"Cold, cold, cold, they died so silently"
16 December 2004 | by (Brighton, England) – See all my reviews

This, in my opinion is the most heart wrenching film by Derek Jarman. It has been both celebrated and derided - An obituary in the The Daily Mail commenting on it being Jarman's "most silly film". However, that is an easy and ignorant comment to make by a critic unmoved and unaffected by the plight of gay people in the 1980's and 1990's for equality and justice in the UK.

The film is a series of beautiful images depicting The Passion (a very personal representation of it from Jarman) - substituting the plight of Jesus with the modern plight of gay men for understanding. The Virgin Mary becomes a modern day celebrity harassed by the media (such as Princess Diana) and Mary Magdoline is substituted for a vilified drag queen. The god like narration is a poem about the journey of the film takes and the pain of loss associated with AIDS. The music is beautifully designed by Simon Turner, and the narration, like that in 'Blue' is moving to the point where it sends shivers down your spine when presented against the emotive imagery. The only slight criticism I would have is the sometimes awkwardly staged studio work with blue screen lacks the power and earthy quality of the location shooting done on Dungeoness shingle Again, like many of Jarmans films, it is quite esoteric - but you don't have to be gay, or have AIDS to be moved by The Garden's sheer passion and spiritual presence. Like the narration states, this film "wants to share this loneliness with you" and it's non-narrative, experimental and home-movie like quality takes you on a wonderful "journey without direction".


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