SCREEN GUIDE: Derek Jarman’s BLUE at Tate Britain
Derek Jarman’s BLUE (1993) screens at Tate Britain until ‘Autumn 2017’ – catch it whilst you can. Here’s our SCREEN GUIDE.
BLUE (UK, 1993, 79min)
Derek Jarman and Ray Harryhausen were two creators of adventurous moving pictures that animated childhoods at RADIANT CIRCUS. Coincidentally, both artists are the subjects of temporary ‘spotlight’ exhibitions at Tate Britain. The thought of a juicy collab between the two remains irrestistable*.
More than any of Jarman’s films, BLUE was our gateway drug to yet more experimental fare. The entire film consists of a single shot of a blue screen. Jarman was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1986 and uses Yves Klein’s International Blue to communicate “the admirable austerity of the void”.
Accompanying the startling single image is a stream-of-consciousness script by Jarman, a score by – amongst others – Simon Fisher Turner and a soundscape by Marvin Black. The experience is all-enveloping and extremely moving.
Derek Jarman’s BLUE first beamed to the nation back in 1993 as a shared simulcast between Chanel 4 and BBC Radio 3. You could also send-away for a limited edition art-paper book, back when TV programmes did such things. Our copy is a RADIANT CIRCUS treasure.
BLUE is currently in residence at Tate Britain, occupying a room with a sofa and some beanbags. We’re not convinced of the image and sound calibration (too bright? // too basey?), but it’s a rare chance to encounter Jarman’s work on loop in an intimate setting. Simply turn up and chill out with this truly personal film.
At the back of the room there’s a small display case with some of Jarman’s notebooks and scripts. BLUE evolved over many years before taking its final form. Whilst you can’t see much, seeing Jarman’s notebooks always make you wonder what other films might have been?
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- Find BLUE, Derek Jarman and Simon Fisher-Turner on IMDb.
- Visit Tate Britain and see BLUE for FREE. Catch it while you can – screenings are scheduled until ‘Autumn 2017’.
Featured image: Tate Britain/BLUE (1993) – Derek Jarman.
*What would Jarman’s homoerotic sword and sandle epic SEBASTIANE have been like in Dynamation…?