Derek Jarman's Caravaggio triumphantly rises above its financial restrictions and proves, once again, that less can be a lot more.

Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio triumphantly rises above its financial restrictions and proves, once again, that less can be a lot more.

Pic is an imagined biopic of one of the last Renaissance painters, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), but the inspiration seems to be Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, since both artists came from poor backgrounds and used beautiful young men from the slums in their work. Both also became involved in scandal and violence.

Jarman’s film, in classical tradition, is told in flashback as the artist lies dying in poverty. Story takes a backseat, however, since much of the joy of the film is to be found in the way Jarman and his team recreate the look and color of the original paintings. But film lacks a certain warmth and emotional depth.

Caravaggio

UK

Production

BFI. Director Derek Jarman; Producer Sarah Radclyffe; Screenplay Derek Jarman; Camera Gabriel Beristain; Editor George Akers; Music Simon Fisher Turner;; Art Director Christopher Hobbs

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1986. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Nigel Terry Sean Bean Garry Cooper Spencer Leigh Tilda Swinton Michael Gough
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