The Last of England has the rare ability to envelop one in its swirling images and bleak comedy one moment, and send a viewer off to sleep the next.
Following the avant-garde helmer’s most accessible film to date, the 1986 Caravaggio, he returns with a blatantly personal vision which combines documentary-style footage of ruined streets, home movies, and a segment with glimpses of a screen story. All is filmed and linked abstractly, but without the glimmer of plot or narrative line.
The Last of England is a self-indulgent number, opening with an actor (Spring) kicking and abusing a Caravaggio painting, ‘Profane Love’, and proceeding with a tirade of images of urban destruction and deprived youth. Interspersed are extracts from the Jarman family’s home movies, which make an interesting contrast to the abrasive images with their views of colonial and RAF life.