Derek Jarman, trance films and Medieval art cinema

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    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


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