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UK, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Derek Jarman

Anyone who has followed with interest the films of Derek Jarman will find cause for dehght m Edward II It seems to be the culmina­tion of everything the bold British director has been toying with on screen over the last 17 years, since his debut with Sebastiane in 1975.

This Edward is an invigorating adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's classic 16th-century play, trimmed to the bone but only marginally altered. Newly crowned as King of England, the youthful Edward II bestows gifts, titles and all his devotion upon his lover Piers Gaveston In neglecting his wife (played by the ever-luminous Tilda Swanton) and his responsibili­ties as King, Edward makes enemies of the nobles and churchmen who surround him, and his fall from power is sudden and complete.

Only the context has changed, almost beyond recognition Costumes are anachronis­tic, with Mortimer clad m modern military uni­form, the nobles power-dressing m business suits and Queen Isabella attired like some vision from the pages of high fashion Jarman transforms Edward's supporters into gay activists carrying placards and fighting with not police Ifs not difficult to see that his artis­tic choices are designed to cement modem par­allels

Angry, passionate, amusing, urgent and often strikingly beautiful, successfully walking a tightrope between Euro art film and the avant garde, Edward II is a triumph.

see also: The Party-Nature Morte

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