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Derek [DVD] [2008]

Isaac Julien    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 9.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Directors: Isaac Julien
  • Format: PAL
  • 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.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Mar 2009
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001ORHBDC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,999 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

DEREK
A film by Isaac Julien

Derek is a glorious, yet fitting, remembrance of one of independent film's most important artist, Derek Jarman. It was lovingly crafted by artist filmmaker Isaac Julien, who assembled a moving collage of rare home movies, film clips and interviews, as well as a cinematic love letter from actor Tilda Swinton written a decade after Jarman's death. The film tells the story of Jarman's life and chronicles everyday England from the 1960s to the early 1990s. It also includes clips of Jarman's feature-length and Super-8 films. Swinton's letter serves as the poetic overlay, telling the truth about the life Jarman led and the cultural abyss left by his absence.

Painter, author, gay militant, AIDS activist and, above all, filmmaker, Derek Jarman was one of Britain's best-loved and most original artists who touched the lives of everyone he met.

Special features

  • Filmed introduction by Producer Colin MacCabe (2008, 5 mins)
  • The Extended Derek Jarman interview (1991, 69 mins)
  • New filmed interview with Isaac Julien (2008, 20 mins)
  • Three Super-8mm short films by Derek Jarman: Pirate Tape (W.S. Burroughs Film) (1982, 16 mins) TG: Psychic Rally in Heaven (1981, 8 mins); Sloane Square: A Room of One s Own (1974-6, 9 mins)
  • The Attendant (Isaac Julien, 1993, 8 mins)
  • The Clearing (Alexis Bistikas, 1994, 7 mins)
  • Ostia (Julien Cole, 1987, 26 mins): short film about Pasolini starring Jarman, with optional director s commentary
  • Derek Jarman paintings gallery
  • Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Isaac Julien and B.Ruby Rich; Ossian Ward on Jarman's paintings; film notes; and biographies
  • UK | 2008 | colour | English, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 76 minutes + 170 minutes extra material | 1 x DVD-9 + 1 DVD-5 | Original aspect ratio 1.78:1 (16x9) | Region 2 DVD


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Derek....a must see! 15 Sep 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I found this film a remarkable, informative and culturally enriching insight to a man's life, work, relationship to the world and people. It inspired me to seek out his unique film work and expand my horizons.
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Format:DVD
This documentary tries to evoke Derek Jarman in his own time. It mostly uses excerpts from a few films (17 they say) and footage from Derek Jarman's own personal video and 8 mm library, mostly in this latter case what was used in Glitterbug. It also uses footage from an interview he gave at the end of his life before he was taken sick and some short sequences of him in his sickness. It also uses footage from various archives and sources about the fight of gays and lesbians in Great Britain to get rid of the segregationist rejection they were the victims of up to rather recently.

The documentary starts with some images from Derek Jarman's infancy with his parents and family. The text accompanying these images is by Tilda Swinton, narrated by the same with some images of her in Present day London or at Derek Jarman's cottage.

It sure is a tribute to the memory of this film maker, and it is deserved first because of his active participation in social issues like free sexual orientation as well as the more general question of social segregation. But the main interest is not at this level. The documentary enables us to define Derek Jarman as different from most film makers of his time. They used cinematographic technique along with a cinematographic vision. They were, and still are, contained, and some might say narrowly contained, in the film industry, the film technology and the film narrative genre.

Derek Jarman is at heart and in the deepest convictions of his mind a visual person who sees the world with the eyes of a painter and he makes his films with such an orientation, that has nothing sexual this time: he is painting the screen with his camera and editing bench.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, thorough and compelling documentary of one the great Avant Garde filmmakers of the 20th century 21 Feb 2009
By indiefilm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I consider Derek Jarman's films some of the greatest of film output from Great Britain. I'm a fan of avant garde films and Derek's are some of the best. So, to say the least, I was incredibly eager to see this documentary. It did not disappoint! Tilda Swinton does an amazing job as the host/narrator of this documentary. The first 10 minutes or so are done in an avant garde style and may put some people off. However, once it gets past that, the documentary is quite cohesive and tells the amazing story of Derek Jarman's life and films. Incredibly lush and full of interesting tidbits about Derek and his films. I highly recommend this for any Derek Jarman fan, Tilda Swinton fan or fans of avant garde cinema.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Profound 7 Dec 2008
By Vampire Truth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Writer/narrator Tilda Swinton's valedictory essay on the friend whose death she's never gotten over is a moving testament to the enduring power some lives exert on others. Framed almost as a pessimist's argument with a departed optimist, DEREK is simultaneously a celebration of Derek Jarman's exuberant, political and innovative oeuvre and also much more than just a career overview of a gay provocateur's fascinating cinematic and personal journey. Director Isaac Julien does a fine unfussy job, showing a subtle awareness that his true resources are Swinton and the unbelievably sharp, gregarious and generous Jarman himself, who had the foresight to commit his memories and views to videotape before his premature death during the early stages of the AIDS crisis. A reminder of a type of cinematic adventure the corporate production system of today rarely allows for, DEREK will move you to cheers and tears for things lost and things remembered.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Jarman, though it could have been more detailed... 7 Jun 2009
By Grigory's Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Derek Jarman was one of the most unique, artistic, and criminally neglected British filmmakers ever. He's hardly ever mentioned when British cinema is mentioned, yet his films are some of the most beguiling, fascinating, and moving films that the U.K. has ever produced. Jarman was also a painter, a writer, and a political activist. He was openly homosexual, and he campaigned for gay rights during a time when it wasn't hip to do so. He was part of Outrage, an English gay rights organisation. Sadly, Derek Jarman passed away from AIDS complications in 1994, leaving behind a massive amount of stunning work that hasn't dated at all. It's nice to see someone finally make a documentary about Derek, as he deserves to be better known, but the documentary is really only for those who are already familiar with Jarman's work (like me).

The film is very good in that it consists of mostly home footage of Jarman, his family, his home movies, clips from his films, and a long interview segment that is edited throughout the film. Jarman comes across as a really wonderful, witty, and artistic man (which he was). The filmmaker lets Jarman speak for himself, which I like very much, but the segments with Tilda Swinton are very dry and borderline dull. I find it rather sad that the director didn't do more with Tilda, as Tilda was one of the producers on this film and also wrote and narrated it. It was Derek Jarman who really discovered her, and it's apparent than Tilda still misses her mentor very much. Many entertainment reporters never mention that Swinton got her start when Jarman cast her in his films. Jarman is quite extraordinary in that I have never heard a bad word spoken about him by anyone. Even the cranky Ken Russell, a great filmmaker but someone who had a difficult personality, spoke glowingly about Jarman and his work as production designer on Russell's still controversial film The Devils. Unfortunately, Russell isn't interviewed here, but I met Ken at a screening of The Devils last Halloween, and he talked about Jarman in such glowing, warm terms, as if he were still alive. It was actually quite moving, and when Jarman's name appeared on the credits of the film, he was appaulded.

I would recommend this film to anyone interested in Jarman's work, and then rent The Last of England, Jubilee, Caravaggio, and Blue. Then rent the rest of his filmography.
4.0 out of 5 stars Time, the all-leveler of Shakespeare is haunting this film 3 July 2014
By Jacques COULARDEAU - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This documentary tries to evoke Derek Jarman in his own time. It mostly uses excerpts from a few films (17 they say) and footage from Derek Jarman's own personal video and 8 mm library, mostly in this latter case what was used in Glitterbug. It also uses footage from an interview he gave at the end of his life before he was taken sick and some short sequences of him in his sickness. It also uses footage from various archives and sources about the fight of gays and lesbians in Great Britain to get rid of the segregationist rejection they were the victims of up to rather recently.

The documentary starts with some images from Derek Jarman's infancy with his parents and family. The text accompanying these images is by Tilda Swinton, narrated by the same with some images of her in Present day London or at Derek Jarman's cottage.

It sure is a tribute to the memory of this film maker, and it is deserved first because of his active participation in social issues like free sexual orientation as well as the more general question of social segregation. But the main interest is not at this level. The documentary enables us to define Derek Jarman as different from most film makers of his time. They used cinematographic technique along with a cinematographic vision. They were, and still are, contained, and some might say narrowly contained, in the film industry, the film technology and the film narrative genre.

Derek Jarman is at heart and in the deepest convictions of his mind a visual person who sees the world with the eyes of a painter and he makes his films with such an orientation, that has nothing sexual this time: he is painting the screen with his camera and editing bench. That's why he is so at ease with Caravaggio and why he reduces Wittgenstein to a purely visual image of a parrot in a cage itself in a cage with Wittgenstein imprisoned in it. That does not explain the thinking of the philosopher, or the genesis of this thinking, or even the relation between the philosopher, language, logic and the world. It only provides us with an image that is a visual metaphor of all the rest.

That makes Derek Jarman the British counterpart or equivalent of the American Andy Warhol, including his factory. Derek Jarman represents his generation and many of the things he did can only be evoked with nostalgia. That time is gone. A few films might yet survive because they reach beyond the simple direct evocation of the world in the 1960s-70s-80s, like Caravaggio, Sebastiane, maybe Wittgenstein. But even what he says about love is totally passé. Love cannot be reduced to sex. Love does not imply sex necessarily. Love is a mental, neuronal and sentimental passion, whereas sex is a hormonal desire and hunt.

That was a time when promiscuity was the norm, and we can think of the animated film Fritz the Cat to have an idea of how extreme that promiscuity could be, how tragic too when it becomes Zabriskie Point. At the same time in those years sexual orientation was a stake for those who wanted to define themselves as gay or lesbian, but after 1968, and even some time before, it was trendy and even a must in some social areas to be bisexual, to try both sides of the coin, to be ACDC. Today after the tragedy of AIDS we have discovered safe sex for everyone, because AIDS is not a question of sexual orientation, and we are reaching in some countries and even at the UN the point when sexual orientation is becoming a basic human right and one fundamental freedom that can be visible in public like all freedoms should be.

I will personally regret the quick image of Margaret Thatcher in connection with the political struggle around sexual freedom. She was moderate in many ways when Ronald Reagan purely declared AIDS to be a judgment and punishment from god against sodomites at a time when most states in the USA considered sodomy, including heterosexual, as a felony if not a crime. It is true to make that connection with Margaret Thatcher but it becomes circumstantial although the question is by far universal.

A good testimony about an artist who deserves it and a time that was so contradictory that it looks prehistoric if not even antediluvian. Was life really like that? Oh yes, but it does not speak to us any more. Happy were those who went through promiscuity and multi-orientation without getting sick, not to mention dying! But that was pure luck because we did not even think about it. We just did it and woke up oblivious and refreshed on the following morning: we picked our clothing, tried to dress before leaving and went back to life outside in the street, with a little bit of streaking across the front garden. In fact we do not remember those we had sex with so much. But we will never forget those we refused to have any intercourse with. The world was upside down and that does not mean it has straightened up, far from it.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Documentary Just Like His Films 4 Sep 2008
By Jeffery Mingo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Some people felt that Jarman's film were artsy and highly political and classy. Others thought they were dry, low-budget, anachronistic, and confusing. This documentary is the same way. If you love you some Derek, then you will like this. It'll make you nostalgic for him. If you aren't a big fan of his, then this will just plod along and you'll start thinking about what else you could be doing besides watching this.

I am a big supporter of Isaac Julien. However, I'm not sure what much he did besides record modern shots of Tilda Swinton. Jarman died about 15 years ago, but this work is made up entirely of an interview from him. There are no living people here analyzing his work now. This documentary begs the question why it didn't come out in the early 1990s. As a corollary, maybe it did and it is just being re-packaged here. By the way, Tilda looks a hot mess with her graying hair and lack of makeup. They show a scene of Neil Tennant from 20 years ago. I forgot too that he used to have hair.

Viewers may want to watch this alongside documentaries about Gilbert & George or David Hockney.
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