Derek Jarman has always been a bit of a problematic film maker for me. His films are chock full of interesting and homo-erotic images that I find appealing but there are also disturbing images and an almost complete lack of plot line in many of his films.
This was explained a bit in this short biography. Jarman was trained as a painter and considered the camera just a new and exciting type of brush. As a result his films often had a great look with image after striking image but without any real cohesive narrative line.
He also said that for him the finished film wasn't as important as that those making it had fun. While this does not generally make for good film making Jarman had such interesting ideas and visions that oftentimes this was enough. Yes, I think his films could have been more mainstream acceptable if he's tried a little harder to make them so, but I don't think that this was what he was about.
As it is they are interesting for what they are, even if at times that's not much more than a catalog of his playtime.
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