Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
United Kingdom, 1987. Channel Four Films, British Film Institute. Sonnets by William Shakespeare. Cinematography by Derek Jarman. Produced by James Mackay. Music by John Balance, Peter Christopherson, Stephen Thrower. Film Editing by Peter Cartwright, Cerith Wyn Evans.
The most artistically minded viewers might get something out of this Derek Jarman experiment, but even that’s a long shot. A man makes a spiritual journey to cleanse himself before finding love, all of it filmed in black and white and slow motion while Judi Dench reads Shakespearean sonnets over the soundtrack. Dench is a most welcome voice for the Bard’s work, but as a feature film this is a bit of a wearing method of storytelling. Jarman is, as usual, an uncompromising filmmaker, but this time his work is as alienating as it is admirable.