Throwback Thursday: The Garden
Half waking dream and half fiery polemic, the experimental 1990 film The Garden was born of director Derek Jarman’s rage over continued anti-gay discrimination and the sluggardly response to the AIDS crisis – he had been diagnosed HIV-positive in 1988 and eventually died in 1994.
Starring Jarman’s eternally fascinating before-she-was-famous muse Tilda Swinton, this uniquely kaleidoscopic film shows the filmmaker’s genius at its most coruscating, making space in its breadth of vision for an over-the-top Hollywood-style musical number, nightmare images of tar-and-feather queer persecution, and footage of the particularly menacing-looking nuclear power plant that overlooks Jarman’s own garden, the point from which his film begins, and a cherished spot which he must keep tending to even as his body begins to betray him.
Writhing with sorrow and anger, and yet so vividly alive to the loveliness of being, The Garden is a baleful and beautiful epistle from the brink of beyond.
Unavailable for a very long time, Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist Films are finally releasing The Garden on DVD and Blu-ray this August following a limited theatrical run in repertory cinemas. This new special edition will include audio commentary by film historian Samm Deighan as well as numerous interviews and documentaries featuring remembrances from the cast and crew.