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Derek Jarman
UK 1993 / 79’

Derek Jarman’s last film is pure blue, a uniform, blue curtain draped over the screen like a painting by Yves Klein. The show, however, goes on. Off-screen, we hear sounds from everyday life and fragments from the diary of the dying director, read out by his actor friends, Tilda Swinton and Nigel Terry, and by Jarman himself. The sound of the sea, footsteps in a hospital corridor, the war in Bosnia. The names of those close to him who died of AIDS are repeated like a somber chorus. The most important themes in Jarman’s creative work are again interwoven throughout this radio play: poetry and politics, men and art, love and death. While  Blue is without images, it is not an expression of doubt about the power of cinema or an experiment intended only for the most persevering of audiences. This chronicle of departure at a time when AIDS was a death sentence allows the viewer to feel the director’s situation more than any plotline would allow. In his last months of life, Jarman lost his vision, and blue was the last color that he could perceive. Twenty years later, and  Blue is still extraordinarily powerful.

Mariusz Mikliński


Edinburgh IFF 1993 – Best New British Feature; Stockholm FF 1994 – Honorable Mention

Derek Jarman

An icon of queer cinema and counterculture, Derek Jarman is both an artist and an activist. He made his full-length debut in 1976 with  Sebastiane , a gay interpretation of the legend of a saint. He looked for homosexual subjects in literature (Shakespeare’s  The Angelic Conversation), in the lives of historical figures ( Edward II), and in representatives of the world of culture ( Wittgenstein). For Jarman, the combination of queer and punk esthetics with an anarchical message was an element of his opposition to conservative reality. He died of AIDS in 1994.  

Selected filmography

1976 Sebastian / Sebastiane

1979 Burza / The Tempest

1986 Anielskie rozmowy / The Angelic Conversation

1993 Wittgenstein

1993 Blue

Cast & Crew

director Derek Jarman
screenplay Derek Jarman
music Momus, Simon Fisher-Turner
cast John Quentin, Tilda Swinton, Derek Jarman, Nigel Terry
producer Takashi Asai, James Mackay
production Basilisk Communications, Uplink Co., Arts Council of Great Britain, Channel Four Films, BBC Radio (Radio 3), Opal
sales British Film Institute (BFI)
language English
colouration colour