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>
This has the distinction of being the first non-porn film to show a male erection. See more »
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 »
Remember seeing this film on the big screen in an art film house in Ottawa while I was a student in Visual Arts two decades ago. Absolutely loved it and have pretty clear recollection of most of it, it's amazing! I was a bit blinded by some of the homo-erotic content and had no idea that Jarman would go on to make a number of art-house films, many also dealing with homosexual texts such as Carravagio, a painter I absolutely love as well as Edward the Second, film version of Christopher Marlowe's play of the fay king of England. The acting in Sebastiane may seem stilted but that also might be due to the fact that many of the actors were amateurs; the Latin for me also lent an aura of authenticity since I studied Latin in high-school for five years. The historical accuracy of the life of Sebastian, the saint, was more correct than most of the hagiographies of his life. The settings were perfect, the depictions quite accurate, the drunken scenes were real because they really were drunk. The hand held quality of the film was a pioneering method of filming that also lends to the realism of the period. All in all a wonderfully creative, even innovative, stylised film that I remind to those who enjoy auteur and art-house plus homo-erotic movies. The sound track was done by Brian Eno and was released separately as "Music for a Movie". This is the only part of the film that strikes me as incongruous but somehow the moody style set by Eno's pioneering electronic music does work. Needless to say that Jarman's short filmography is to my mind very impressive.
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