The Garden (1990)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

United Kingdom/Germany, 1990.  Basilisk Communications, Channel 4, British Screen Productions, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, Uplink, Sohbi Kikaku, Space Shower TV.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

This confusing film is strictly for diehard fans of Derek Jarman.  Less a movie and more a moving artistic collage (like many of his films), it incorporates themes of religion, sexuality and fame to make a visually striking though unfocused piece of work. Some of the scenes focus on a modern-day Madonna (that’s Jesus’s mother, not the queen of pop) who gives birth to the Savior while also avoiding the paparazzi hounding her wherever she goes. Other parts involve the grown-up Jesus wandering a landscape populated by electric wires, while still other sequences deal with a gay couple who get married and are eventually tortured and killed in the manner of a passion play. I’m sure some people out there will be offended by the joining of gay politics with fundamental Christian beliefs, but Jarman’s images never make a strong enough statement to really get under your skin. He was better at attacking Thatcherism in his masterpiece The Last of England than he does in questioning religion here.


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