Realistic, poignant, but also anecdotic,
This review is from: Blue  [DVD] (DVD)
The film is not a film. It is a radio show. Derek Jarman is dying of AIDS and he tells us how he sees his disease and his coming death. For him the color is blue, because blue is the sky, it is absolute limitless space and it is the perfect color for going to the other side of the gate or door or portal you have to cross on your last breath. After that point you do not need to breathe any more.
The story, if it is a story, is poignant but told on a rather desultory tone and with as much poetry as possible. He explains what this disease means for him and probably for many others in his case. He repeats the names of the men he has loved and who may have infected him or who he may have infected. Sad and tragic that love led to death. I say love and I follow Derek Jarman on that term, but in fact it was not love. It was sexual intercourse and most of the time nothing much more in those post 68 years when everything was possible and everyone was doing it. Well everyone, not, really, but many considered promiscuity as a norm and bisexuality as a must.
As Derek Jarman says he has to resign himself to the disease and the coming death. The drugs used in those years were very experimental, had tremendous side effects and were nothing but tinkering about with what doctors had under their hands and fingers and research went very slowly, when it was funded, which was not the case everywhere in the world.
And then Derek Jarman has to come to terms with his life, what he had done, what he would have done, what he did not do, and he has to build a balance sheet of his work: has he achieved enough for his films to survive his own death? Probably, though some of these films are aging rather fast. And then he has to push suicide aside and he has to cope with the pain and try to find some peace of mind to move on and pass to the other side in serendipity. And his telling his last moments of consciousness on this planet must have helped him to find some catharsis with death.
Apart from that the radio show that is behind this constant blue screen is a testimony of a social and human situation and it is nothing else. The testimony is done with great talent but it is being carried away by the wind of time. The situation does not have any duration in itself. It is already in the past for the countries where safe sex is a real objective and the present treatment is available. It will not cure you but it will give you a more or less normal life for quite a good number of years.
But it remains necessary to revisit what it was in the past not to slacken our efforts to find a real cure.
"Glitterbug" is only a montage and collage of tit bits from Derek Jarman's personal super eight and video documents he left behind after his death. This film is a testimony about him and his work and life in order to pay our respects to the departed filmmaker.
Apart from that dimension the film does not really bring anything new about the man or his films. And since it was not professional camera work, it is not even comparable to his work. So this documentary gives us an intimate vision of the man and the people around him and this is a good thing to give some human depth to a man who went away too fast.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU