Derek Jarman’s dense The Garden is a graphic look at homosexual discrimination laden with campy gestures, music and religious dream sequences. As in Caravaggio and The Last of England, Jarman forfeits the standard storyline for a panoply of images.
Michael Gough’s gently resonant voiceover laments ‘My friends went so silently’, and the legacy of AIDS is alluded to powerfully. Jarman combines camera images and backdrops to juxtapose contempo England with the Passion of Christ.
A gay male couple are arrested and persecuted, culminating in an ugly tar-and-feathering session. Mary floats in and out. The gay couple wind up on the cross. Jesus walks under power lines near a nuclear plant.
Simon Fisher Turner’s score is excellent, but often out of sync with the self-conscious, symbolic action on the screen.