Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman

British avant-garde director, artist and screenwriter.
Date of Birth: 31.01.1942
Country: Great Britain

Biography of Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman was a British avant-garde director, artist, and screenwriter. He was born in London on January 31, 1942. Jarman studied at the Royal University of London from 1961 and attended the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London from 1963. In 1970, he entered the film industry as a renowned theater set designer, working as an artist on Ken Russell's film "The Devils". From 1971, Jarman began directing his own short films, using Super 8mm film. He made 17 short films before releasing his first feature film, "Sebastiane," in 1976. Throughout his life, Jarman continued to use the Super 8mm format in some of his full-length films. "Sebastiane" was a controversial film in 1970s Britain, portraying the life of Saint Sebastian from a positive perspective on homosexuality. It was also notable for being the first film entirely in Latin. The film's music was composed by Brian Eno, who would go on to collaborate frequently with Jarman.
Notable Works and Collaboration

Derek Jarman

Jarman's next significant work was the cult film "Jubilee" released in 1978. Set in the punk rock culture, the film tells the story of Queen Elizabeth I traveling through time to a dystopian and chaotic 20th century. "Jubilee" is considered the first British "punk film" and featured appearances by Toyah Willcox, Pamela Rooke, Nell Campbell, Adam Ant, and bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Slits. In 1979, Jarman adapted Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" into film. For the next seven years, he continued to make short films, raising funds for his next feature film, "Caravaggio". The film, released in 1986, focuses on the life of Italian artist Caravaggio and owes its release to the television company Channel 4. From this point onwards, almost all of Jarman's films were produced with the help of television companies and were showcased on television. "Caravaggio" also marked the beginning of Jarman's collaboration with actress Tilda Swinton.
Public Figure and Impact

On December 22, 1986, Jarman was diagnosed with HIV. Since the early 1980s, he was one of the few public figures in the UK who did not hide his homosexuality and drew attention to the issues surrounding AIDS. Despite the difficulties faced during the creation of "Caravaggio," Jarman returned to using Super 8mm film for his movies "Imagining October" and "A Conversation with an Angel" in the 1980s. During this time, Jarman also actively directed and produced music videos for various groups and musicians, including Throbbing Gristle, Orange Juice, Marc Almond, The Smiths, Matt Fretton, and Pet Shop Boys. In 1988, he released the film "The Last of England," which explored the dramatic changes in modern British life. Jarman received the Teddy Award for this film.
Final Years and Legacy

While working on the films "War Requiem" and "The Garden," Jarman became seriously ill. Although his illness did not hinder the completion of these films, he only managed to create three more films. In 1991, Jarman adapted Christopher Marlowe's play "Edward II," which addressed the issues of homosexuality and is considered his most radical film on the subject. He followed this with a pseudo-biographical drama about the life of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein titled "Wittgenstein." Jarman's last film, "Blue," was made in 1993 when he was already blind and dying from AIDS. The film premiered on the British television channel Channel 4 in collaboration with BBC Radio 3, with the visual and audio components broadcast simultaneously. Jarman passed away on February 19, 1994. Shortly after his death, a compilation of his short films with a soundtrack by Brian Eno, titled "The Angelic Conversation," was released.