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This book gives detailed and original critical readings of all eleven of Derek Jarman's feature-length films, arguing that he occupies a major and influential place in European and world cinema rather than merely being a cult figure. It places particular emphasis on the importance of Renaissance art and literature for Jarman, and emphasizes his interest in Jungian psychology. Wymer shows how Jarman used his films to take his audience with him on an inner journey in search of the self, while remaining fully aware of the dangers of such a journey.
Originally published: Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press, 1994.
Soon after he started filming "The Last of England" (which had much autobiographical content) in 1986, Derek Jarman started work on this book, which contains diary entries, interviews and notes from the script. He writes of his childhood and his kleptomaniac father, the process through which he came to terms with his homosexuality, his early work as a painter and designer, and his debut as a film director. Serious themes are followed thoughout, as Jarman writes of what he regards as the corruption of the cinema industry, the moral and personal consequences of the AIDS virus, and the down side of Thatcher's Britain.
Sexuality; life in the sex and drug-filled sixties and seventies; his early work as a painter and designer for Ken Russell's groundbreaking films; and debut as a director.
Derek Jarman was the most important independent filmmaker in England during the 1980s. Using emblems and symbols in associative contexts, rather than conventional, cause-and-effect narrative, he created films noteworthy for their lyricism and poetic feeling and for their exploration of the gay experience. His style of filmmaking also links Jarman with other prominent directors of lyric film, including Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andrei Tarkovsky, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Genet. This pathfinding book places Derek Jarman in the tradition of lyric film and offers incisive readings of all eleven of his feature-length films, from Sebastiane to Blue. Steven Dillon looks at Jarman and other directors working in a similar vein to establish how lyric films are composed through the use of visual imagery and actual poetry. He then traces Jarman's use of imagery (notably mirrors and the sea) in his films and discusses in detail the relationship between cinematic representations and sexual identity. This insightful reading of Jarman's work helps us better understand how films such as The Last of England and The Garden can be said to cohere and mean without being reduced to clear messages. Above all, Dillon's book reveals how truly beautiful and brilliant Jarman's movies are.

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