Blue stands as one of the more evocative and profound cinematic experiences ever created. The duration of the movie spans just one hour and seventeen minutes, and details Jarman’s musings about his impending blindness and fast track to death. Life, illness, love, and the representation and symbolism of art are drawn upon.
The film which is a literal and figurative portrayal of the director’s experiences with AIDS is set against an unchanging plain blue screen that acts as a background. The cinematic effect of the single shot of blue is that it effectively puts the viewer into the mental and emotional world of Derek Jarman – seeing the nothingness that he experiences, hearing what he hears, both outside and inside of his head. The multi-layered explosion of symbolism explored by the film includes the many meanings that are attributed to the colour blue. An intermingling of music, sound effects and a collage of voices that include Jarman’s, and that of John Quinton, Nigel Terry and Tilda Swinton, all who offer readings from Jarman’s journals and poetry, work together to complete the background for the film.
Blue is considered to be Jarman’s last chance to fight against death and homophobia that exists in society. This unconventional film is a courageous visual and social experiment which enters it into the one-of-its-kind category.
“One of the most significant works Jarman has accomplished”
— The Guardian
“There is nothing in cinema history to match this: a film at once so abstract, yet so intensely and painfully personal”
— Geoff Brown, The Times
“Eloquent, ironic, courageous, a stoical work by a spiky British filmmaker who loves and despairs of this country”
— The Observer
Did You Know?
Blue was made a year before Derek Jarman’s death from AIDS-related complications and was released just four months before his demise. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle has chosen the film Blue as one of his much-loved films, even naming it “one of the most intimate films I’ve ever seen.” Review our Gay Themed Films Here