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.

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.

The Garden

UK

Production

Basilisk. Director Derek Jarman; Producer James Mackay; Screenplay Derek Jarman; Camera Christopher Hughes; Editor Peter Cartwright; Music Simon Fisher Turner; Art Director Derek Brown, Christopher Hobbs

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Derek Jarman Tilda Swinton Johnny Mills Kevin Collins Pete Lee-Wilson Roger Cook
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