Jarman: Volume Two - 1987-1994
Collection of iconoclastic director Derek Jarman's six final features, including the posthumous 'Glitterbug' (1994). 'The Last of England' (1987) chronicles England during Margaret Thatcher's rule throughout the 1980s. Using impressionistic means the drama blends images of desolate streets as a personal reaction to the disintegration of society with symbolic references to the Falklands War and also the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. 'War Requiem' (1989) is a visual evocation of the 1963 recording of Benjamin Britten's choral masterpiece of the same name, which blended the Latin Mass of the Dead with the war poetry of Wilfred Owen, starring Laurence Olivier, Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean. Featuring no spoken dialogue, the narrative traces the reminiscences of an old soldier (Olivier) as he recounts the harrowing experiences of war. 'The Garden' (1990) is an art-house drama that explores homosexuality and Christianity iconography juxtaposed with footage of Jarman's own home and garden in Dungeness, Kent. In 'Edward II' (1991), Jarman directs a postmodern version of Christopher Marlowe's play of the same name combining contemporary and medieval set-pieces, props and costumes. When Edward II (Steven Waddington) finds his court divided in loyalty over his homosexual affair with Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) he is pressured into making a decision: end the relationship or face dethronement and exile. 'Wittgenstein' (1993) is loosely based on Ludwig Wittgenstein's biography, starring Karl Johnson and Michael Gough. Making economical use of minimal sets and costumes, the story traces Wittgenstein's education in Austria and Cambridge utilising symbolism to comment on some of Wittgenstein's personal struggles. In 'Blue' (1993), Jarman's final feature, a single shot of blue is filling the screen as different narrators consider the colour as a character and contemplate on issues to do with love, disease, the meaning of art and mortality. Finally, 'Glitterbug' (1994), released posthumously, is a montage of Super 8 footage shot by Jarman from 1970 to 1986. Part home-movie, part formal experimentation and part social documentary it chronicles Jarman's life before his AIDS diagnosis, with music by Brian Eno.