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Sebastiane [DVD]

Barney James , Neil Kennedy , Derek Jarman , Paul Humfress    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: £9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Sebastiane [DVD] + Caravaggio [1986] [DVD] + Edward II [DVD] [1991]
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Product details

  • Actors: Barney James, Neil Kennedy, Leonardo Treviglio, Richard Warwick, Donald Dunham
  • Directors: Derek Jarman, Paul Humfress
  • Writers: Derek Jarman, Paul Humfress, James Whaley, Jack Welch
  • Producers: Howard Malin, James Whaley
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Jun 2001
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JI0R
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,017 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The first and only film shot entirely in subtitled Latin, Sebastiane is Derek Jarman's first work as a director (though he shared the job with the less well-known Paul Humfress) and is a strange combination of gay nudie movie, pocket-sized Ancient Roman epic and meditation upon the image of Saint Sebastian. It opens with the Lindsay Kemp dance troupe romping around with huge fake phalluses to represent the Ken Russell-style decadence of the court of the Emperor Diocletian in AD 303, then decamps to Tuscany as Diocletian's favourite guard Sebastian (Leonardo Treviglio) is demoted to ordinary soldier and dispatched to a backwater barracks because the Emperor (Robert Medley) suspects him of being a covert Christian. The bulk of the film consists of athletic youths in minimal thongs romping around the countryside, soaking themselves down between bouts of manly horseplay or sylvan frolic. It all comes to a bad end as the lecherous but guilt-ridden commanding officer Severus (Barney James) fails to cop off with Sebastian and instead visits floggings and tortures upon his naked torso, finally ordering his men to riddle the future saint with arrows, thus securing him a place in cultural history. The public schoolboy cleverness of scripting dialogue in Latin--a popular soldier's insult is represented by the Greek "Oedipus"--works surprisingly well, with the cast reeling off profane Roman dialogue as if it were passionate Italian declarations rather than marbled classical sentences. The film suffers from the not-uncommon failing that the best-looking actor is given the largest role but delivers the weakest performance: Treviglio's Sebastian is a handsome cipher, far less interesting than the rest of the troubled, bullying, awkward or horny soldiers in the platoon. Peter Hinwood, famous for the title role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, can be glimpsed in the palace orgy. The countryside looks as good as the cast, and Brian Eno delivers an evocative, ambient-style score. --Kim Newman

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: Bengali ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: ***ATTENTION***Latin audio with English subtitles***Following his work with Ken Russell as production designer on The Devils, Derek Jarman made his debut as director with this story of the life of Saint Sebastian, the martyred roman soldier who was sent into exile and tortured. A poetic exploration of sexuality, the film is beautifully shot against a scorched desert landscape. The film earned a cult status after its release and when it was finally given a UK television broadcast ten years later, its depiction of male nudity and homoerotic content still proved controversial. Sebastiane set the tone for Jarman's uncompromising, highly personal and original style of filmmaking. ...Sebastiane (1976)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Censored Film! 13 Sep 2008
Buyers should be aware that the DVD as released here is the censored version, as distributed over thirty years ago! The basic content / narrative remain the same, although this version loses some of the original intensity.
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99 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insight into Catholicism vs. Homosexuality 19 Jun 2001
By A Customer
An outstanding work - for all those interested in the MALE form.
An intriguing play on the male psyche - juxtaposing multiple themes: unrequited love; social acceptance of sexual thought; the demands of society upon the individual; sexual desire in an exlusively male environment; and the requirements imposed by religion values.
Jarman explores the ancient Roman Garrison philosophy - that to love ones fellow man (in the most intimate way) leads to a bonding which instills a greater will to fight to the death in order to protect ones comrade in arms
Sebastian, a catholic, has difficulty in forming the social and sexual bonds defined by this 'garrison philosophy' as a result of his devout relgious beliefs. His commanding officer finds Sebastian intriguing, captivating, alluring. Sebastian's reluctance to respond to his superior's desires only makes him more desirable. There is a definate affection between the two, but the demands of Sebastians religion and the social standing of both men place their attaraction above the common place male bonding which surrounds them. Ultimately their relationship is doomed, as the society of which they are a part are threatened by, and so condemns, the 'true' love to which they each aspire
"Sebastian" contains possibly THE most classic "homo-erotic" playfight. This, for me as a young heterosexual man, was thrilling, arousing and to some degree disturbing. I left this film questioning many aspects of my own sexual orientation, and at the same time allowed me to affirm many of the feelings that I had. There is little doubt, that watching this film will answer, no confirm, many questions one may have about their own sexuality
A fantastic film, although perhaps lengthy - it is filled with some memorable cinematography.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sebastiane 1 Mar 2013
Great Jarman interpretation. Visually stunning and very homo-erotically charged. A fascinating study for anyone who enjoys a good story well-told.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit tired 17 April 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this as I remember seeing it on Channel 4 when it was first broadcast, causing a bit of a stir. So I thought it would be interesting to see it on my big screen TV.

Time has moved on and although it is still interesting it does feels a bit dated and contrived.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DEREK JARMAN'S SEBASTIANE 16 July 2010
Set in a Roman military outpost, the sun baked landscape and the sea creates an atmosphere in which the men form physical and sexual bonds. Their passionate relationships are full of male humour, obsession, romance and violence. At the centre of this whirlwind is the Captain of the guard, Severus, unable to articulate his sexuality, who is determined to make the young Christian soldier, Sebastian love him despite the young man's continual rejection.
The versions available on DVD have oddly used a cropped version not showing a hardon for their releases. Whether be deliberate (the DVD has an 18 certificate) or just sheer laziness and ignorance about the film's original screen ratio, it is so.
Sad to say, the definitive version has yet to make it to DVD. A future release deserves an original ratio, high definition restoration because this is a cult movie
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jarman's brilliant debut 13 April 2014
By schumann_bg TOP 100 REVIEWER
Sebastiane was Derek Jarman's first film, and stakes out his highly individual style and independence as a filmmaker. The story of Sebastian, rejected favourite of the Roman Emperor Diocletian who was subsequently sent into exile and tortured for being a Christian, is essentially a series of scenes of young men in a desert-like landscape who fight and engage in verbal jousting in Latin. The leader, Severus, who tortures Sebastian because he will not fight, seems to decide he will be put to death as a way of dealing with his own love for the young man. Another in the group, Justin, tries to stick up for him always, while there are two other male lovers and a loud-mouthed homophobe. The landscape is unfailingly beautiful, and many of the shots are very striking, especially setting young men in very fetching loincloths against it. These are remarkably cut, quite varied, but always showing off the wearer to brilliant effect. At one point Sebastian does a charming dance for Justin in a short tunic that keeps blowing up like a mini-skirt, revealing this eye-popping underwear. The fact that it is glimpsed and then further hidden, in conjunction with his beard and graceful movements, creates a dizzying confusion of effect which makes Justin's enthusiasm all too understandable, although Severus's brutality is harder to fathom ... another variant on homophobia turned both outward and inward, presumably. The film does have a number of graphic sequences, both sexual and violent, opening with a striking dance of graphic sexual symbolism involving the wearing of huge phalluses. It is spoken throughout in Latin which adds a certain authentic note amid the stylisation. Altogether it is a compelling picture, as striking and iconic, and aesthetic, as Bavo Defurne's more recent short film on the same subject. The DVD also contains a marvellous 40-minute interview with Jarman conducted by Jeremy Isaacs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Being tortured is beautiful and liberating 10 July 2014
This film is not a religious film. But this film is not an anti-religious film. This film is about the rejection of a group of men banned out of society to some outlandish deserted area and what happens among them who have nothing to do and are under the command of an officer who is banned exactly the same way.

First they are obsessed by sex since it is the main human activity they cannot have, at least in a normal heterosexual way. So they live that sexual obsession in jokes, in some brutality, in some dreams or some homosexual surrogate activities. But even so hunting a wild pig and killing it, having fake fights with wooden weapons are definitely not enough to satisfy their frustrations and their desires. If you are the officer you can order one simple soldier to satisfy your sexual impulse, but otherwise we are in a plain case of playing or raping.

The film, apart from showing the homosexual relation between two soldiers reveals the fact that there are two Christians in the group and they are taken as scapegoats. One of them is Sebastian and he is tortured by the officer and by the soldiers because he refuses to fight because Christians do not fight. The officer takes a great pleasure in whipping him, torturing him day and night, tying him down in the sunshine for hours, trying to force him to accept to let him make love to him, and strangely enough he does not rape him though Sebastian refuses to service him. The soldiers do not touch him because he is the officer's prey, toy, possession. But they get even with the second Christian they torture physically just because he is a Christian. That is segregation and racism, hostility based on pure and simple religious rejection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful?
Most definitely in every possible way. A must have.

This is Derek Jarman at his very best. No other director can compete with him. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Count Dracula
3.0 out of 5 stars sebastiane DVD
I bought this film as I can remeber someone saying years ago it was a vary good film but after watching the film I noticed it was'nt the full film there must be 10 min cut from it... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr. A. Nicholls
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic graphic Ancient Roman Film
This film is well worth watching for historical interest, aswell as graphic homoerotica. I recommend the fantastic role Barney James has in this movie. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nick Kno
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointment
the intention is good and beautiful ; but a good intention is not a good movie ; this one has all the blunders of films from this period : he looks a quality "art et essai" but the... Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by french reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Best homoerotic film ever
Have watched this film a few times and each time I seem to enjoy it more and more. A very good homoerotic film and I think one of Derek Jarman's best.
Published on 1 Oct 2010 by Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars My review
Mmm didnt realise was subtilted story line was weak and didnt really understand the film
Published on 3 Feb 2010 by Mr. C. Jeffries
3.0 out of 5 stars Romans without Hollywood accents
Sebastiane is a rather controversial movie but for those who wish to build up an eclectic library of DVDs then it would be a useful addition. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2007 by LXIX
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