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Derek Jarman


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Derek Jarman (January 31, 1942 – February 19, 1994) was an English film director, stage designer, artist, and writer.

Jarman was born Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman in Northwood, Middlesex, boarded at Canford School in Dorset and from 1960 studied at King’s College London. This was followed by four years at the Slade School of Art, starting in 1963. He had a studio at Butler’s Wharf, London, and was part of the Andrew Logan social scene in the 1970s.

On December 22, 1986 he was diagnosed HIV positive, and was notable for later discussing his condition in public. His illness prompted him to move to Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, near to the nuclear power station. In 1994 he died of an AIDS-related illness. Chumbawamba subsequently released “Song for Derek Jarman” in his honour.

Jarman’s first films were experimental super 8mm shorts, a form he never entirely abandoned, and later developed further (in his films Imagining October (), The Angelic Conversation (), The Last of England () and The Garden ()) as a parallel to his narrative work.

Jarman first became known as a stage designer getting a break into the film industry as production designer for Ken Russell’s The Devils (), and later made his debut in “overground” narrative filmmaking with the groundbreaking Sebastiane (), arguably the first British film to feature positive images of sexuality, and the first film entirely in Latin.

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