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The Arts Desk: Derek Jarman Collection

March 30th, 2018

theartsdesk18aBlu-ray: Derek Jarman Collection, Vol One 1972-1986

Voyage through an alchemical universe: the magical realm of a flawed English genius

This BFI boxset of Derek Jarman films from the first phase of his career, brilliantly curated by William Fowler, is an exemplary package: a treasure trove of extras accompanies his first six features, here presented in re-mastered form, and a thorough, well-illustrated and thought-provoking 80-page booklet with extensive material about the films and a wealth of essays.

The collection makes it possible to follow the evolution of Jarman as a film-maker, always riding the wave of creative and mould-breaking adventure, from the mysteries of In the Shadow of the Sun (1981), a film that built on much of Jarman’s super-8mm footage from the 1970s, the controversial Sebastiane (1976), through to the explosive punk-inspired politics of Jubilee (1978), followed by The Tempest (1979), surely one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare on film, the avant-garde rigour and homo-erotic delirium of The Angelic Conversation (1985), and the assured and more straightforward account of the rebellious life of the painter Caravaggio.

• Continue reading at The Arts Desk. Read further info on this release here.

The Arts Desk: DVD Review: Quatermass

July 31st, 2015

theartsdesk15aThe earnest 1979 TV series where Nigel Kneale’s Professor Bernard Quatermass bowed out

Urban streets are littered with bodies. Barricades constructed from cars are ablaze. The national broadcaster works behind security suitable for a prison camp, Fearful old people live communally in underground warrens. Gangs roam cities while in the countryside, the hippy like Planet People chant and wander, looking for sites from where they can ascend to salvation on another, mythical planet.

Professor Bernard Quatermass arrives in this chaos from his Scottish retirement retreat to take part in a TV show marking the moment when Russian and American space projects become one, linking with each other in quatermass15corbit above the Earth. He sees the programme as a platform to help in the quest for his missing granddaughter, who he thinks has had her head turned by the Planet People. Over its four episodes, the 1979 TV series Quatermass portrayed a world gone to pot.

This important release, a two-disc set out on Blu-ray and DVD, collects the 1979 TV series and its spin-off film. Quatermass is played by a magnificently sideburned, yet often wooden, John Mills. As Quatermass‘s foil Kapp, Simon MacCorkindale overeggs the theatricals but is nonetheless robust. Watch out for Toyah Willcox amongst the Planet People.

• Continue reading at The Arts Desk. View further info on the recent Quatermass DVD/Blu-ray Box Set here.