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UK, 1990 (MIFF 1991)

Director: Derek Jarman

Like all of writer-director Derek Jarman's previous films, The Garden is an innovative and controversial piece of work; provocative, sensual, and highly original in its play of image and sound.

Set in the symbolically suggestive garden and surrounding headland of Jarman's Dungeness home, it takes the story of Christ and portrays it in contemporary dream allegory. Jarman sets the New Testament events against the backdrop of today's Britain, exploring his feelings about the Church's role in the current AIDS crisis, examining aspects of his own mortality (the filmmaker is HIV positive), and raising questions of ecology.

Shot on 8mm and 16mm and then edited on video before being transferred to 35mm, The Garden is a stunningly vibrant visual feast that provides the viewer with a tapestry of moods and feelings, ranging from horror to humour, from melancholy to exhilaration.

While this film is as serious as The Last of England, Jarman himself stresses its more humorous and accessible side. always the iconoclast, only Jarman would include scenes in which Judas sells the world on the idea of credit cards, and various cast members break into a rendition of "Think Pink" from the musical Funny Face.

"The religious imagery serves to open out the film, providing shared cultural meanings to which we can all relate. The cumulative effect is not negative or depressing but rather optimistic and uplifting. It is probably the most imaginative and unique British film you will see for some time." Duncan Petrie

See also...


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Shot during the summer and autumn of "last year", this mesmerising trip into contemporary Britain's apocalyptic non future presents what is possibly filmmaker Jarman's most personal film to date ... More »

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