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From Sebastiane (1976) to Blue (1992), Derek Jarman’s films constantly interrogated time and art, and epitomised his own era. He was a painter, part of that moment that made sixties London a capital of the art world. He was a film-maker, perhaps the single most crucial figure of British independent cinema through the seventies, eighties and nineties. He lived as a gay man surfing the joys of Gay Liberation and the sorrows of Aids. He lived as a participant observer, noting with pen or camera all that passed before him - from punk to Thatcher, from Hampstead Heath to film premiere.

Now those images serve to place his art in his time, to produce a fascinating history that we can put to use. As well as the feature films and Super 8 films, which span three decades, there are the extensive video clips he recorded from the early seventies, for artists from the Smiths to the Pet Shop Boys, and from television to film festivals in Japan, Berlin and Cologne.

At the centre of the film is the time capsule that Derek left. Before his death, and in the midst of that great creative period that would produce Edward II, Caravaggio and Blue, he recorded a day long interview in 1990 with Colin MacCabe. It is his message in a bottle; a survey of his life from the point of view of his death; a talisman for the future.



Type of film
Running Time
78 mins
Isaac Julien
Tilda Swinton, James Mackay, Isaac Julien
Tilda Swinton, James Mackay, Isaac Julien
Adam Finch
Tilda Swinton
Director of Photography
Nina Kellgren
Simon Fisher Turner
Principal Cast
Tilda Swinton

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Last updated 17th December 2007

Production Company

JN Films
Pt. D and E, Guildford Court
51 Guildford Street
London WC1N 1ES

T +44 (0)20 7837 7097