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Caravaggio [1986] [DVD]

Nigel Terry , Sean Bean , Derek Jarman    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Price: 9.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton, Mark Tildesley, Michael Gough
  • Directors: Derek Jarman
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Jan 2007
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,871 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A film by Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman struggled for seven years to bring his portrait of the seventeenth-century Italian artist Michelangelo da Caravaggio to the screen. The result was well worth the wait, and was greeted with critical acclaim: a freely dramatized portrait of the controversial artist and a powerful mediation on sexuality, criminality and art - a new and refreshing take on the usual biopic.

The film centres on an imagined love-triangle between Caravaggio, his friend and model Ranuccio, and Ranuccio's low-life partner Lena. Conjuring some of the artist's most famous paintings through elaborate and beautifully photographed tableaux vivants, these works are woven into the fabric of the story, providing a starting point for its characters and narrative episodes.

Caravaggio features wonderful performances from Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, and, in her first role, Tilda Swinton, who was to become Jarman's muse and long-time collaborator. A visual treat, it was the first major film production for award-winning costume designer Sandy Powell, with luscious production design by Christopher Hobbs.

DVD extras

  • Specially commissioned interviews with Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry, and production designer Christopher Hobbs
  • Feature commentary by cinematographer Gabriel Beristain
  • Filmed and audio interviews with Derek Jarman
  • Gallery of storyboards, production sketches, and Derek Jarman's notebooks
  • Fully illustrated booklet including introductory essay by Colin MacCabe and interview with costume designer Sandy Powell
UK | 1986 | colour | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 89 minutes | Ratio 1.85:1 (16x9 anamorphic widescreen) | Region 2 DVD |

Product Description

Writer/director Derek Jarman's superb, visionary art film stars Nigel Terry (The Lion in Winter; Excalibur) as the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo Merisa da Caravaggio whom, according to Jarman, essentially told his own life story in his paintings. Sean Bean (When Saturday Comes; Anna Karenina; Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring; Black Death; Tv's - Bravo Two Zero; Sharpe) is a revelation in this very early role, as he plays Ranucio, the love interest of Caravaggio. When he is on screen he steals the movie, as his animal magnetism, sexual energy, and wild persona grip the film and propel the story forward.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Jarman classic 24 Jun 2008
By Room For A View VINE VOICE
Beyond Caravagio's art there is very little evidence to support an in depth biographical study. What there is (principally a few police records) may or may not suggest a violent man prone to fits of jealous rage and violent behaviour. Jarman, however, provides a beautifully realised poetical interpretation, charged with a latent sexuality, that conveys a complex blend of urban poverty and aristocratic patronage. Jarman succeeds in placing a 'modern day' Caravaggio amongst his baroque compositions, recognising the artists's immense talent for the human form, light and shadow and use of colour. The acting is awesome and the sets show how a highly imaginative crew can pull together the essence of a period with grace and historical insight. Amazing.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Quite simply unlike any other biographical film you will ever see, Derek Jarman's acclaimed production of Caravaggio (1986) is a lovingly constructed, highly personal cross-reference of tormented sixteenth century genius, twentieth century iconography and a somewhat satire on the shallowness of the burgeoning eighties' art scene of which Jarman was very much part of. Exploring Caravaggio's life through his work, the film distinctively merges fact, fiction, legend and imagination in a bold and confident approach that will probably leave serious art enthusiasts and casual viewers outraged by the complete disregard for accurate, historical storytelling.

Shot with a typically avant-garde approach, director/writer Jarman doesn't so much fashion a biography of the artist, but rather, creates a personal reflection of the man using intimate characteristics that appeal to his filmmaking sensibilities. This makes Caravaggio more of an interpretation of the filmmaker than the artist himself; somewhat self-indulgently focusing on Caravaggio's struggle with bisexuality, perfectionism and wanton obsession; perhaps even glossing over the more intricate workings of the character, for instance, his own passion for art and his battles with the various religious and creative constraints of the period.

It's a shame some of these ideas aren't further elaborated upon, because, at its heart, Caravaggio is really an exceptional film. As I commented earlier, it's perhaps unlike any other film you will ever see; an iconoclastic vision with a cinematic imagination that knows no bounds. Caravaggio is a film in which a 16th century setting gives way to the various anachronisms of passing trains, tuxedoes, motorbikes, typewriters and chic nightclub settings.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and moody 9 Jan 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie is hard to get into, and it jumps around quite a lot through the artist's life. Throughout the movie there are some amazing set pieces that recreate the artist's famous paintings in minute detail, and these alone make the movie worth watching if you like Caravaggio's work. Created on extremely low budget, it's amazing what imagination and fine acting can do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegiac, elegant and unforgettable 29 Mar 2011
Derek Jarman crafted a beautiful and unique work of art in "Caravaggio". Perhaps the fact that I have a great love for the work of the real Michelangelo Caravaggio, influences my judgment just a bit; It was quite enjoyable to see the paintings come to life, and to witness how they might have actually been created. In fact, much of Jarman's poetic film has the look of a lush, living painting. There is much to admire here besides the aesthetics; the talented and beautiful cast, led by Nigel Terry, the intense-looking Sean Bean, as Ranuccio, and the elegant Tilda Swinton, as Lena; the woman loved by two very passionate, and tormented men. The acting is all around excellent, but Nigel Terry as Michelangelo really stands out. He is great to watch, and brings life to a man the world knows not so much about. Also actor Dexter Fletcher was quite funny and likable in his portrayal of the younger Caravaggio.

More than a historical, biographical account of the painter, this is more the study of a classic love triangle. Caravaggio's models were mostly street people, many of them also criminals, and it seemed that he often became personally involved with his subjects. His love for 'Lena' seems to be as strong, if not stronger, than his love for 'Ranuccio'. And this divided love has tragic consequences, for all involved.

I didn't find "Caravaggio" an overly gay film, as the subject wasn't focused on obsessively, like other films of this nature tend to do. The love affair between Lena and Michelangelo was given as much attention as the relationship between him and Ranuccio. Therefore those who might feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, need not be, as it is actually quite accessible.

I highly recommend this poetic film, especially for admirers of the painter Caravaggio.

I hope this review has been helpful in your purchasing decision.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
every shot in this beautiful film is like one of caravaggio's paintings - a true masterpiece of cinematography. jarman shows his story telling skills off to the full, sharing his obvious fondness for the artist and his works to the extent that you feel compelled to go away and see more of his paintings for yourself after having watched this. dexter fletcher plays the young and precocious caravaggio as only one so young and precocious could, and sean bean is wonderfully spiteful and sexy as his muse. this is a film for the faint hearted art film fan - as jarman fills the film with his trademark humour eccentricities to keep you on your toes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I am sure for all the Jarman fans out there they will love it but for...
Unless you admire Derek Jarman's works DO NOT BUY THIS FILM. I hadn't come across Jarman's films before and so I thought this was going to be a true representation on the life of... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Susan E. Tisley
5.0 out of 5 stars Love inspiring and poignant sadness
This film deals with a painter of great fame from the end of the Renaissance. It is the story of a man of course but also of his assistant. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jacques COULARDEAU
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
All Good
Published 2 months ago by Gerrard
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistic
Artistic and daring film for a controversial painter, full of amusing anachronisms. And a gorgeous, young Sean Bean as a model...
Published 8 months ago by MS DEBRA JANE HALL
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best films about an artist
A few points: The paintings shown in the film don't look like Caravaggios, being much rougher (perhaps like early Cezanne); the similarity has been displaced onto the photography... Read more
Published 11 months ago by schumann_bg
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for all the senses.
Whatever you think of the controversial English film-maker, Derek Jarman, don't let it put you off this 1986 work. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mr. P. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The artist and his art
An unsual movie! Considering the facts of Caravaggio's life, death and his art, this cinematographic piece of art resembles a slightly hermetic reflection on human existence, a... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Suzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous
Derek Jarman's output was patchy, to say the least. Some of his films were so-so ("War Requiem"), some downright bad ("Blue"), but with "Caravaggio" he hit the jackpot. Read more
Published on 22 Jan 2012 by J. Rottweiller Swinburne
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter, utter, nonsense.
This film is so bad it angered me.
Be warned, this film IS NOT about the artist Caravaggio, it is about Derek Jarman the 'director'. Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2011 by Mr. R. Winstanley
5.0 out of 5 stars Caravaggio published by Taschen
An outstanding book. The illustrations are outstanding and having seen many of Caravaggio's paintings in gloomy and often overcrowded churches, it is a delight to turn each page to... Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2011 by CT
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