Derek Jarman

Presented by the Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI

The First and Last of England: The Queer Legacies of Derek Jarman

Film program


Wed 6 Nov – Wed 20 Nov 2024

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One of the great iconoclasts of British cinema, Derek Jarman (1942–1994) was a multidisciplinary artist par excellence whose tirelessly provocative, unapologetically queer and highly influential filmmaking career was tragically abbreviated by his death from AIDS-related illnesses. His filmography constitutes an extraordinarily rich body of work which subsumes the many other creative practices he engaged and excelled in, from writing, painting and stage and set design – prior to embarking upon his own feature-filmmaking career he provided striking sets for Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) and Savage Messiah (1972) – to costuming and gardening. His films also incorporated an abiding interest in occult matters, a flair for anachronism and, increasingly stridently, a militant gay rights activism – Jarman having been open about his HIV-positive status from as early as 1987, after a diagnosis late the previous year.

This program ranges across Jarman’s oeuvre, encompassing remarkable portraits of artists and historical figures – 1986’s Caravaggio, in which regular Jarman collaborator Tilda Swinton made her screen debut, and 1993’s Wittgenstein – and of Britain in decay – his solo-directorial feature debut, 1978’s punk classic Jubilee, and 1987’s poetic, yet scathing, indictment of Thatcherism, The Last of England. This season also includes The Garden (1990), a radical, personal and pointedly activistic late work, along with a smattering of Jarman’s avant-garde shorts, celebrated pop videos for The Smiths and Isaac Julien’s superb 2008 documentary tribute, Derek.

Presented in partnership with the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Films in this program (Wed 6 Nov – Wed 20 Nov 2024)

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About Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

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