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Smiling In Slow Motion: Diaries, 1991-94 Paperback – 1 Feb 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (1 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099284189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099284185
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Derek Jarman was one of the most interesting independent film makers of the last quarter of the 20th century. His latest volume of his diaries starts from where his previous volume, Modern Nature, left off, covering the period from May 1991 to February 1994, just a fortnight before his death from an AIDS-related illness. Fans will relish the accounts of back-stage in-fighting over low budgets and impossible timetables, and his acerbic comments on the gay scene. Jarman's zest for, and curiosity about life never diminished, and these last, previously unpublished, writings, penned from his flat in London, the wild and beautiful garden he fashioned in the shadow of Dungeness power station in Kent, and his hospital bed, are a testament to his courage and irreverence in the face of a horrifying illness. Jarman was a one-off, an iconoclast--Smiling in Slow Motion is an acute reminder of his absence. --Christopher Hart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Present on every page is the creative sparkle and compellingly generous spirit of a man who was in every way an uncompromising individual" (The Times)

"In these diaries... the artist and film director emerges as a down-to-earth visionary... this perceptive and enjoyable work is something of a miracle" (Independent)

"For all his anger, Jarman never seems brutalised. He retains his humanity and his good humour. His is a wonderfully garrulous, mercurial, polymathic daemon" (Literary Review)

"Jarman [is] the sort of troublemaking visionary who one day may be compared with Blake" (John Gill Time Out)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I cried when I finished this book and not just because it signalled the end of Jarman's life, but because it was the end of a truly gorgeous piece of writing. I have been ekeing this book out for the last three months because I didn't want to finish it. The bits I love the most are the descriptions of life at Prospect Cottage, not because it is wildly exciting but because the sense of peace coming from Jarman's experiences there were really NEEDFUL to me. I loved everything about this book, his honesty, his sense of humour, his anger, his patience with his AIDS related illnesses, his passion for life and his unwillingness to surrender to anything that he didn't believe in. I feel his loss tremendously and that's amazing really from just reading this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ms. C. J. Mcelwee VINE VOICE on 18 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
I never had the fortune to meet Derek Jarman, but his eye on life and creativity is sorely missed. This is a touching finale to the journals past that document his life - and well worth your time. I couldn't wait to get into bed with Derek! He had such bounds of joy, even in the extremis he found himself in. One 'legitimate' reviewer criticised the book because its editor, Keith Collins (HB), and Derek's companion, left too many references to himself in it. But how are we to understand Jarman's feelings for this man if they are obliterated for reasons of coyness or what others may feel appropriate. Personally I could do with him around my house as he seems to be a dab hand at most things! Secondly, the lack of an Index caused ire! Well all I can say is that the person concerned obviously wanted a quick root to what he assumed was the 'dirt' on other well known personalities - but although Derek Jarman may not have disapproved of Outing, you will find none of it here! This is a book for the Ms/Mrs/Mr straight as well as otherwise, and I hope that Derek's high profile sexuality will not put other straight readers (of whom I am one) off. His descriptions of landscape are evocative; friends touching and his disease - seering but not quite bitter. His HB was loved and we should know it. Don't let this opportunity to take up residence in a fine mind slip you by.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beatrice on 6 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think Jarman's journals are probably his most accessible work. Beautifully written, illustrating not only his genius for art but also his genius for life. A truly inspirational human being. Read them and learn.
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By Steve13 on 26 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jarman is someone, along with Joe Strummer, I wish was still with us today. His is an incisively intelligent but wonderfully open take on the world and the lives we lead. He writes easily and well. The book, as with his other journals, reminds me of an England now sadly lost and of a time when art, invention, imagination and creativity trumped financial success and tabloid notoriety.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Uncompromising and honest 24 April 2003
By "p_b_s" - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Published journals by their very nature can be dull and opaque. If you're not familiar with the author's creative work and life it's easy to get lost in a forest of names and references which leaves you feeling bored and alienated. For this reason, journals generally dissaude you from reading them cover to cover though they may be quite illuminating when dipped into. That's not the case with this, the final volume of Jarman's journals. The way he writes is so direct and frank that it is utterly compelling. I didn't want to skip any of it. Jarman's uncompromising approach to art and life must have alienated a lot of people (on the margins as well as in the mainstream). Good! We need to be shaken up. Jarman shows his courage here but also his vulnerability. The journals are never mawkish or sentimental, but they left me greatly moved. Jarman continued to work on films, books and paintings while dealing with the daily burden of HIV-related illness and this book documents that process. It's also very much about the people who surrounded him and the things he liked to do, particularly in relation to his cottage and the unique and celebrated garden at Dungeness. Vale, Derek. I wish I could have told you how much I admire you.
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