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.

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Edward II © Film Movement

Throwback Thursday: Edward II

Back in 1991, Christopher Marlowe‘s notorious 16th century play was radically adapted into this gay cinema masterpiece by the late, great queer iconoclast Derek Jarman – and it’s easily one of his most powerful films.


Using anachronistic imagery, modern dress, gay activists battling riot police and Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter, the story of Britain’s only openly gay monarch and the persecution he suffered is given a contemporary resonance by Jarman, paralleling the injustice with prevailing modern-day homophobia.

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