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 Post subject: Guardian Articles - i) The End of Story ii) Derek Jarman
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:39 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:34 am
Posts: 5
Entertaining article by playwright Mark Ravenhill on the curse of Hollywood scriptwriting manuals: "The cult of Story is destroying our culture from within. I want you to help me put an end to it. A book-burning, perhaps?" ... story.html

The piece below appeared in The Guardian this week (Valentines
Day). An clear analysis of the problems we are still up against. For full article: ... 41,00.html

Flickers from beyond the grave
Derek Jarman's cinematic reputation has been in the doldrums for so long that the devotion he once inspired now seems baffling. I count myself among such devotees: as a student in the 1980s, I considered it a cultural duty to see every one of his films - in my case, from Caravaggio onward - the moment they came out. But it is almost unthinkable today that such opaquely personal films could have similar essential-viewing status. Looking back, it has become difficult to appreciate his work on its own merits, especially for such a coterie-oriented film-maker. And I doubt any contemporary artist/film-maker would take such an unironically high-minded approach to their work.

One problem is the seismic shift of the cinematic landscape since Jarman's death in 1994, the same year that saw the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral. One of Jarman's main weapons had been that, in the Thatcher era, there was no one else putting out Britain-centred product so enthusiastically. His small-scale, personalised vision undoubtedly helped him survive the 1980s and, to some extent, prosper. But with the revival of the commercial end of the British film industry, the very people who most resented Jarman's productivity regained the initiative. After his death, his cinematic influence virtually vanished. Queer cinema never became the force it promised to be, and the European avant garde to which Jarman belonged was further undermined by the success of American independent cinema, such as Pulp Fiction - another 1994 release.

Jarman's reputation has been kept afloat, to a certain extent, by the achievements of his most identifiable collaborator, Tilda Swinton, but the films that get her noticed - Michael Clayton, Young Adam, Adaptation - are hardly Jarmanesque. Her role in Sally Potter's Orlando (1992) is arguably the most significant Jarman-influenced film; Love Is the Devil, John Maybury's portrait of Francis Bacon, owes something to Caravaggio; Isaac Julien was perhaps emboldened to give his otherwise very un-Jarmanesque 1991 film Young Soul Rebels a gay theme. These aside, it's been a sadly unfulfilled succession.
Andrew Pulver

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