Derek Jarman, trance films and Medieval art cinema

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While he is often portrayed as having a particular affiliation with the Renaissance, Derek Jarman engages with a highly eclectic array of influences, both early and modern, in his work. Many of Jarman's films have their roots in mediaeval literature. Indeed, he viewed his punk film Jubilee as 'a healing fiction' that 'harked back to Pearl and Piers Plowman'; while he claimed that The Last of England was structured like a medieval dream vision. Jarman's work is unusual in that it is simultaneously experimental and traditional and this paper will also show how his medieval influences exist in a complex relationship with the work of more modern cinematic forebears. This chapter offers a close reading of the medieval aspects of several key Jarman films. It will also consider important references to medieval literature in his journals and notebooks and will looked at his unfilmed "Medieval epic" Bob Up-A-Down. Finally, this chapter argues that Jarman belongs to a clear line of European filmmakers, including Sergei Eisenstein, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson and Pier Paolo Pasolini and British filmmakers such as Michael Powell, Ken Russell and John Boorman who have shown a fascination with the Middle Ages in their work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Art Cinema
Subtitle of host publicationcreativity, experimentation and innovation
EditorsPaul Newland, Brian Hoyle
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781526100870
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Derek Jarman, trance films and Medieval art cinema'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this