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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