Perhaps not since Andy Warhol’s Sleep and Empire State has there been a film quite like Derek Jarman’s Blue. This conceptual essay/meditation/memoir on the director’s deteriorating condition with AIDS consists of a dense soundtrack accompanied visually by 76 minutes of a blue screen.
Very early on in the experience, there is a tendency to look away from the screen, as staring continually at the bright, almost glowing blue Technicolor hue proves both too boring and too intense. Joined occasionally on the track by three close collaborators and backed by Simon Fisher Turner’s rich score and Marvin Black’s complex sound design, Jarman ponders numerous subjects and aspects of his disease.
Blue has moments of power, but its many digressions prompt the mind to wander, giving one of the chance to think about anything – Jarman’s other films, how other artists have reacted to their own AIDS, what’s playing down the street.