Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972-1986 [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - British Film Institute
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (1st April 2018).
The Film

Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972 -1986

"Sebastiane" (1976)

"In the Shadow of the Sun" (1974-1976)

"Jubilee" (1977)

"The Tempest" (1979)

"The Angelic Conversation" (1985)

"Caravaggio" (1986)

Derek Jarman was born Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman on January 31st 1942 in Northwood, Middlesex, England. With an affinity for art, he studied at King's College London and at the Slade School of Fine Art, eventually leading to his love of set design, costume design, and also avant garde filmmaking. Through a recommendation, filmmaker Ken Russell recruited Jarman to be the set designer of "The Devils" (1971), noted not only for its controversy and censorship but also for the elaborate set designs. Russell would have Jarman return for "Savage Messiah" the following year, but from there on out it was Jarman who would be in charge of productions however big or small, leading to the world of Derek Jarman's cinema.

Consistently working on Super 8 film making experimental short films, but his big break came with a feature-length film based on the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian. While the image of Sebastian tied to a tree and shot by multiple arrows to death has become an iconic image for the Christian faith, it has also inadvertently become a homosexual icon with the masochistic image and for the story of a man who never gave up on his own faith. As an openly gay man, Jarman set out to make a film not based on fact but one of sexual liberation, freedom, and something of a visual spectacle. "Sebastiane" was that and more. The opening scene of a Roman orgy of song and dance was unlike anything in mainstream cinema. Men with giant colorful dildos strapped to themselves, a dancer getting covered in semen from multiple sources, soldiers being bitten to bloody death, and onlookers there with delicious grins. While the opening sets a distinctive tone, when Sebastian (played by Leonardo Treviglio) is exiled to the frontlines and his rank stripped, the rest of the film is entirely on the island of Sardinia, where the cliffs, the waters, and the sands set another visual tone of isolation. While it seems like a sword and sandals film on the surface, the lack of fitting armor and the underlying sexual chemistry between the characters that only goes further in placing the gay subtext as basically the text. There are multiple shots of nudity including shots of non-flacid penises at times, a very intimate scene of kissing and lovemaking on the cliffs and waters, though nothing to make it pornographic. Jarman and co-director Paul Humfress originally looked to have the film's dialogue spoken entirely in Latin with no subtitles whatsoever. Though the Latin script and dialogue was set, it was chosen to have the dialogue subtitled for cinematic release.

"Sebastiane" was first released in cinemas in the UK in December of 1976. The £30,000 budgeted film was an unexpected smash with gay audiences where it played for weeks on end. The film didn't cross over into the mainstream or into art houses completely, but it was enough to have Jarman's name noticed by art and film circles.

In 1977, Jarman returned with an original concept that would become an iconic punk film - "Jubilee". While the title refers to Queen Elizabeth II's 25th anniversary on the throne, the film instead features Queen Elizabeth I (played by Jenny Runacre who travels four hundred years into the future to see an England in a post-apocalypse. The Queen is dead, punks are running the scene, the art world rules society, and chaos is the rule of the land. Featuring musicians Jordan as the fierce Amyl Nitrate, Toyah Willcox as the outspoken Mad, and Adam Ant in his film debut receiving the "introducing" credit, the film was not about narrative structure but a projected sense of anarchy and madness through the eyes of a disenchanted youth. Visually the film uses many of Jarman's trademarks. Some scenes are shot in Super 8 film like his early shorts. The sets and costumes are bright and bold though most were either found sets and costumes were more or less provided by the performers. The soundtrack was filled with tracks by the aforementioned performers as well as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Brian Eno, who also was featured on the soundtrack of "Sebastiane". "Jubilee" had the feel and look of the punk rock aesthetic, but it was not a film about guitars and drums but about a middle finger to the conservative society. It was loud, brash, and violent, although in some cases there were genuine emotional response during some of the death scenes. Punk is not all about giving it to the man, but with also a sense of community.

In 1979, Jarman would return with an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest". With a script of only 35 pages long with much left up to improvisation and visuals rather than dialogue, the film would be an incredibly loose adaptation of the original play. Again working with an extremely low budget, the cast and crew shot the film at the unused Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, where vintage curtains were hung, dusty furniture were placed, and had a dilapidated and ghostly feel to the production. Many of the cast and crew slept on location where the weather was terrible but the production continued. Unlike "Sebastiane" where the colorful spectacle graced the opening, "The Tempest" goes from dark and eerie to a finale that is almost Busby Berkeley-like in its colorful scenery with song and dance. The finished film was a massive critical success with UK critics, though there were some detracting reviews in the United States, where the New York Times called it like "a fingernail scratched along a blackboard".

Finding investors for funding for projects was not the easiest task for Jarman but that did not stop him from continuing to create more films during the years he was absent from the big screen. Continuously working with Super 8 film and later with VHS and other mediums, Jarman's 1981 film "In the Shadow of the Sun" was a long form music video with music by industrial band Throbbing Gristle, using footage shot in the 1970s. He would continue to create short films with Throbbing Gristle along with Psychic TV (who grew from the ashes of Throbbing Gristle) plus making promotional music videos for The Sex Pistols, Marianne Faithfull, Wang Chung, The Smiths, The Pet Shop Boys, and many more from the 1970s and 1980s.

1985's "The Angelic Conversation" continued in the tradition of his avant garde works with Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, while also returning to Shakespeare. Visually the film was unlike anything else, with Super 8 film footage projected onto screens, manipulated with lights and mirrors with superimposition, recorded on video tape and transferred back to film for an image generations apart from the original source, resulting in an abstraction of images, all flowing at a very slow framerate for a dreamlike effect. With music from Coil (which also rose from the ashes of Throbbing Gristle) and readings of various sonnets by Shakespeare by Judi Dench, the film was an extended avant garde piece that scratched the heads of critics and audiences while still invoking a sense of wonder and experimentation.

In 1986 Jarman was finally able to complete "Caravaggio", a project seven years in the making with an incredible amount of research by Jarman and his collaborators resulting in extensive storyboarding and designs for the production. He was approached in the late 1970s to make a film about Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio though he had little knowledge of the historical figure. But after time researching it became an obsessive project he would look to fulfill in the future. Shot on 35mm with an incredible cast including Nigel Terry as the adult Caravaggio and Dexter Fletcher as the younger Caravaggio, Robbie Coltrane as Scipione Borghese and Michael Gough as Cardinal Del Monte, the film was also notable for the film debuts of Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean, both in the leads. This was not an exact biographical telling of the artist's life, but one that takes its liberties as an art film. It recreates Caravaggio's artwork in various ways, presents a time period that is sometimes in the 1600s and sometimes in the 20th century, with anachronistic machines such as motorcycles and cars while architecture and customs are of the real Caravaggio's time period. It is an incredibly beautifully shot film with heavy use of beautiful filtered colors, and gorgeous paintings seen throughout. The film was a critical success crossing over into arthouses as the film won the Silver Bear at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival.

The first half of Derek Jarman's filmography was filled with experimentation, extremely personal works disguised in cinema, positive and open views with no regards for censorship against homosexuality, and above all a sense of real passion for projects where money or even audiences weren't around. It's interesting to think Jarman has said he didn't care about retrospectives or his work much after they were finished. Ironically audiences for his work has only grown over the years as his death in 1994 due to AIDS complications left an empty void that still has not been filled by any artist over the years. The BFI is celebrating the work of the artist with this five disc Blu-ray set, including many of his works from 1972-1986 as the first volume.

Note this is a region B Blu-ray set which can only be played back on region B or region free Blu-ray players

Video

"Sebastiane" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.53:1 aspect ratio.

"In the Shadow of the Sun" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio

"Jubilee" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

"The Tempest" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio.

"In the Shadow of the Sun" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio.

"The Angelic Conversation" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio.

"Caravaggio" is presented in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.


"Sebastiane", "Jubilee", and "The Tempest" were remastered at 2K from the original 16mm A+B negatives. The opening scenes of splashing color in "Sebastiane" are a joy to see, while the dystopian punk colors of "Jubilee" come to life, and the darkness looming in "The Tempest" are truly brought to life with the new transfers. There are instances of specs on screen in certain shots, moments of minor color fluctuation, but nothing too distracting. "In the Shadow of the Sun" was remastered in 2K from the 16mm internegative. Shot on Super 8 film then transferred to 16mm with film speed manipulation, it certainly looks beat up and mangled as the sound is, with dust and debris in the image as well as blurry figures throughout, though the avant garde nature makes it seem inherent to the final product. "The Angelic Conversation" and "Caravaggio" were remastered in 2K from the 35mm negatives. As "The Angelic Conversation" was shot on Super 8, then later projected, manipulated through mirrors, lighting effects, and VHS tape, the final image looks nothing like a 35mm negative as one would expect but an abstract blur of slow moving images. It is filled with cuts, scratches, debris and other damage as part of the film. "Caravaggio" is easily the best looking film of the set given its younger age and that it was shot on 35mm. Colors are vivid, depth is excellent, and the colorful costumes and set designs are brought forth very nicely. Considering the low budget origins and the fragile elements of some of the earlier works, the BFI has done a very nice job with the transfers here.

The runtime of "Sebastiane" is 85:22.
The runtime of "In the Shadow of the Sun" is 58:54.
The runtime of "Jubilee" is 106:15.
The runtime of "The Tempest" is 94:59.
The runtime of "The Angelic Conversation" is 80:42.
The runtime of "Caravaggio" is 92:55.

Audio

Latin LPCM 1.0
"Sebastiane" features the original Latin language dialogue in lossless mono. The on set dialogue and synchronized score by Brian Eno sound very good, with no issues of dropout, fidelity problems, or damage. It's clean and well balanced, though it is a shame that Eno's ambient and eerie music could have been amazing in surround. But alas, this is how the original theatrical version was presented and it should serve no complaints.

Music LPCM 1.0
"In the Shadow of the Sun" is basically a long form music video with its menacing industrial electronic score by Throbbing Gristle as the backdrop to the images. Because the music is intentionally distorted and warped, it is hard to say if the soundtrack of this is as it should be. There are sounds of hiss and crackles but on quieter moments it is clearer and well defined.

English LPCM 1.0
"Jubilee", "The Tempest", and "Caravaggio" feature the original English language dialogue in lossless mono. For each film the soundtracks have been remastered and dialogue, effects, and music all sound well balanced, with no issues of hisses or pops within the tracks.

English LPCM 2.0 stereo
"The Angelic Conversation" is presented in 2.0 stereo, although the materials say it is mono. The music by Coil and the readings by Judi Dench sound great, with the stereo separation giving the instruments room to breathe and experiment.

There are optional English subtitles for "Sebastiane" translating the Latin dialogue and optional English HoH subtitles for "Jubilee", "The Tempest", and "Caravaggio" captioning the English dialogue. There are no issues with timing or spelling, although there was one instance I caught in "Jubilee" where a comma was in the wrong position. The subtitles are in a white font and easy to read as usual with BFI releases.

Extras

The BFI's Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972-1986 is a 5 Blu-ray set. "Sebastiane" and "In the Shadow of the Sun" are on DISC ONE. "Jubilee" is on DISC TWO. "The Tempest" is on DISC THREE.
"The Angelic Conversation" is on DISC FOUR and "Caravaggio" is on DISC FIVE. In addition the following extras are included on the five discs:


DISC ONE

"Jazz Calendar" 1968 short (36:20)
This early black and white short featuring the Royal Ballet featured costumes and set designs by Derek Jarman. There is little in terms of camera movement or cuts as it displays an audience point of view here. There are minor dust and specs on the frame though the image is quite clear. Unfortunately the original music which was the ballet score by Richard Rodney Bennet could not be cleared for this release, and instead uses some contemporary jazz music in replacement.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Sebastiane: A Work in Progress" previously unseen alternate edit (61:52)
This incomplete work-in-progress edit of the film features a different score, some different transitions, and in black and white. Temp music is present in some scenes while some scenes have no audio at all. It should be noted that there are no English subtitles to accompany this version, which actually was the original intention Jarman had but eventually was pressed to include English subtitles for the theatrical release.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in Latin LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles

"The Making of Sebastiane" 1975 featurette (23:10)
This on-location featurette shot by Derek Jarman and Hugh Smith has no audio accompaniment. There are some behind the scenes color footage of the shoot, shots of the vast landscape, casual images of the cast in between takes, rehearsals, some special effects shots, and more.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1

"Sloane Square: A Room of One's Own" 1981 short (9:53)
This 1981 abstract short film directed by Derek Jarman and Guy Ford is a collage of images and scenes cut together, with some elements of stop motion and Stan Brakhage, with music provided by Simon Fisher Turner. There is quite a lot of specs and dust on the frame, but most likely part of the source of the Super 8 film.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"John Scarlett-Davis remembers Sebastiane" 2018 interview (6:38)
The actor was not a main actor but one of the extras in the opening scene, though he gives some fascinating background being cast as an extra, seeing the lavish set and absolutely surprised at what was being shot for the production.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

Image Gallery (9 stills)
Stills from the set, production notes, and the poster for "Sebastiane" are presented.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4


DISC TWO

"A Message from the Temple" 1981 short (5:15)
This short shot on video by industrial group Psychic TV features Derek Jarman, though his voice is actually that of noted tattoo artist Mr. Sebastian. This was originally available on Psychic TV's first video tape compilation "First Transmissions".
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles

"TG: Psychic Rally in Heaven" 1981 short (8:15)
This early music video shot on Super 8 by Derek Jarman features Throbbing Gristle footage reformed in abstraction to accommodate the pulsating music of the band.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles

"Pirate Tape" 1983 short (15:21)
In 1982, Psychic TV's Genesis P-orridge and Derek Jarman accompanied famed writer William S. Burroughs across London for a few days period. Much of the footage and interview sessions were cut up mangled, and spliced together to form this short film, with Burroughs echoing "Boy, school showers and swimming" again and again against the music of Psychic TV.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Toyah Willcox: Being Mad" 2014 interview (7:33)
This interview features the actress discussing how she met Derek Jarman and how she was given the part of Mad. She also discusses the aspects of her character, about the production, and how she looks at the role in retrospect.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Jordan remembers Jubilee" 2018 interview (33:08)
The actress gives her thoughts on the making of the film, including reminiscing about the ballet scene and the fire, the punk movement of the time, and much more. With the low budget of the film, she recalls having to bring her own clothes for the production as well as having to do her own hair and make-up.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Lee Drysdale remembers Jubilee" 2018 interview (16:56)
Writer Lee Drysdale talks about the small production's locations which he shares some interesting anecdotes about breaking and entering in certain places. He certainly talks fast and holds nothing back in this interview.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

Image Gallery (22 stills)
The gallery includes costume designs, stills, and the original film poster for "Jubilee".
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4


DISC THREE

"Toyah Willcox on The Tempest" interview (10:24)
In this on stage interview at the BFI Southbank on February 12th 2014, Toyah Willcox talks about how Jarman was adamant on having her play Miranda even though she was not at all into Shakespeare. She discusses also about the sets for the production and her memories of Jarman.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Stormy Weather: The Magic Behind The Tempest" 2016 featurette (18:15)
This featurette has Toyah Willcox and Stuart Hopps interviewed separately as they talk about working at Stoneleigh Abbey, Jarman's intricate notebook, as well as the lavish dance scene in the finale.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"John Scarlett-Davis remembers The Tempest" 2018 interview (21:33)
In this interview, the actor recalls the production and how in comparison to the previous work he did for Jarman was fairly traditional in set-up. He remembers the very interesting looking sets at Stoneleigh Abbey, the sailors gathered for the finale, and the later critical reception of the film.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Don Boyd remembers The Tempest" 2018 interview (32:50)
The producer recalls his first meeting with Derek Jarman about bringing projects to fruition, and how it was very unusual that Jarman would bring a short 35 page script that would become "The Tempest". Boyd has many stories to tell including the casting changes, the miniscule budget, the critical praise it received in the UK but fairly negative reviews for the American market.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"A Meeting of Minds: Christopher Hobbs on collaborating with Derek Jarman" 2018 interview (6:29)
Hobbs recalls meeting Derek Jarman in 1970 and the process of doing production design with him throughout the years.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

Image Gallery (31 stills)
A series of on set stills, designs, production notes, 45 single, and film posters for "The Tempest".
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4

UK Trailer (2:46)
The original UK trailer which seems to be from a video source.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles


DISC FOUR

"Fragments of Memory: Christopher Hobbs on working with Derek Jarman" 2007 interview (5:35)
In this interview with Hobbs, the production designer talks about Jarman's eye for abstract and experimental visuals that accompanied "The Angelic Conversation".
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"To the Cliffs: James Mackay on working with Derek Jarman" 2007 interview (10:49)
The producer talks about Jarman's work on Super 8, and how experimenting with film, video, mirrors, projectors, and lighting contributed to the overall look of the finished film.
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Derek Jarman: The Films that Never Were" 2018 documentary (64:25)
Derek Jarman had quite of lot of work that went unrealized, even though designs, storyboards, and meticulous research was done for various projects. Christopher Hobbs, Lee Drysdale, and John Scarlett-Davis recall about the Egyptian Pharoah drama "Akhenaten" and the apocalyptic science fiction "Neutron" which was planned to star David Bowie.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

Image Galleries
- "The Angelic Conversation" Image Gallery (18 stills)
- "Neutron" Storyboards (32 stills)
- "Akhenaten" Image Gallery (26 stills)

In these galleries, there are location stills and on set stills for "The Angelic Conversation", stills for the unproduced "Neutron", and storyboards, sketches, concept art for "Akhenaten".
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4

UK Trailer (1:56)
The original BFI trailer is presented, with some specs and dust on the frame.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles


DISC FIVE

Audio commentary on "Caravaggio" by Gabriel Beristain
The cinematographer gives a full length commentary on the production, as he talks about the sparse sets, the aesthetic, the technical aspects, the use of colors and filters and much more. There are some dead spots in the commentary, especially in the latter half.
in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Caravaggio in Docklands" 1985 featurette (15:18)
This VHS footage was shot by Ron Peck and Mark Ayres, which includes eet construction and the lavish paintings used. There are no interviews but on set sound provided.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Kind Blasphemy: Nigel Terry on Derek Jarman and Caravaggio" 2007 interview (6:47)
The star of "Caravaggio" remembers meeting Derek Jarman for the first time, as well as memories of the production, with script changes throughout and characters being formed in collaboration rather than Jarman giving directions. The film clips are in 1.85:1 while the interview segment is in 1.33:1.
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1/1.85:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles

"Tilda Swinton on Caravaggio and Derek Jarman" 2007 interview (8:48)
The costar of the film talks about her fairly standard meeting with Jarman for the role, the themes of the characters, and more. Again, the film clips are in 1.85:1 while the interview segment is in 1.33:1.
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1/1.85:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Italy of the Memory: Christopher Hobbs on Caravaggio" 2007 interview (8:21)
The production designer discusses that the film was a work in progress for a full seven years before coming to the screen, and how many changes were made along the way.
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1/1.85:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles

"Dexter Fletcher on Caravaggio" 2014 interview (10:00)
In this on stage session at the BFI Southbank on February 25th, 2014, Fletcher talks about being 19 years old and meeting Derek Jarman, working on the film and about the talented actors involved.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

"Christopher Hobbs remembers Caravaggio" 2018 interview (6:23)
Hobbs is re-interviewed here and talks again about the storyboards being worked and reworked for seven years before funding could be secured.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

Derek Jarman interviewed by Derek Malcolm (1986, audio only, alternate audio track over the film) (58:28)
In this post screening Q&A, Jarman discusses how he became interested in Caravaggio's work, including homosexuality, incorporating fiction for artistic purposes rather than historic. He also discusses other projects, what he thinks of cinema in general as well as other directors he appreciates. The audio on this is frankly very bad, with muffled sounds, microphones being cut on and off, distortion, and sometimes audio dropouts. After the Q&A finishes, the audio reverts back to the film's accompanying soundtrack.
in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"In the Studio" Caravaggio soundtrack recording sessions (1986, audio only) (64:05)
Running a little over an hour, this is the recording sessions audio, even featuring producer's cues before the tracks play. For this, the image of the main menu can be seen on screen, but for viewers wanting nothing, the "screen off" button will make the screen black while the music still plays.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, Music LPCM 2.0 with no subtitles

Image Galleries
- Carravagio (52 stills)
- Derek Jarman's Notebook (71 stills)
- Caravaggio Storyboards (112 stills)
- Caravaggio Alternate Storyboards (52 stills)
- Caravaggio Production Designs (18 stills)
- Derek Jarman's Notes on Caravaggio (56 stills)

For "Caravaggio" there are extensive sets of on set stills, behind the scenes stills, film posters, plus many storyboards and design stills. In addition there is a gallery for Derek Jarman's notebook, which is sometimes difficult to read due to handwriting as well as Jarman sometimes writing horizontally and something vertically in the notebook. There are also extensive notes written by Jarman on the production.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4

UK Trailer (1:43)
Some specs and dust with washed out colors.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.85:1, in English LPCM 1.0 with no subtitles


Book
An 80 page book is includes with the set. There are essays, a biography, notes on each film, notes on special features, stills, storyboards, concept art, and more. First is "The Many Faces of Derek Jarman", an introduction by BFI curator William Fowler, which will be continued in the second volume. Next is "As Fresh as a Daisy", an appreciation by actress Tilda Swinton. For each film, there is a contemporary review from Monthly Film Bulletin as well as a retrospective essay by William Fowler. In addition for "The Angelic Conversation" there are notes on the making of the film by Colin McCabe plus "The Angelic Conversation: On the Music" written by Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV/Coil member Peter Christopherson. In addition for "Caravaggio" there are notes on the making of the film by Colin McCabe and a text conversation with costume designer Sandy Powell. Next there are notes on all the special features, a biography of Derek Jarman written by Jason Wood, notes about the transfers, and lastly acknowledgements.


For "Sebastiane" and "The Tempest" they have been previously released on Blu-ray in the United States by Kino Lorber. "Sebastiane" featured no extras at all while "The Tempest" had some exclusives: Short films by Derek Jarman - “Journey to Avebury” (1971) (10:43), “Garden of Luxor” (1972) (8:56), and “Art of Mirrors” (1973) (5:51). These Super 8 shorts are not included on this BFI Blu-ray set. Another omission is the wealth of music videos that Jarman made during this period. Most likely due to record label copyrights and licensing issues, though they would have been most welcome to have included.

Overall

The BFI's Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972-1986 is an excellent set chronicling the first half of the artist and filmmaker's career in cinema. Always thinking outside the norm, placing very personal effects in his work as a form of artistic expression, his works were not the most accessible or anywhere near commercial. And that is what set him apart from all others and why he is still discussed to this day. The BFI's set features an immense amount of extras with excellent transfers making the set highly recommended.

The Film: A- Video: A- Audio: A- Extras: A Overall: A

 


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