Edward II

Great Britain 1991. Dir: Derek Jarman. 87 min. DCP

“A mesmerizing film that bristles with fury, sexuality, and radical wit.” PETER TRAVERS, ROLLING STONE

NEW RESTORATION! Tilda Swinton was crowned Best Actress at Venice for her hypnotic performance in this gorgeously wrought, explicitly gay reworking of Shakespeare contemporary Christopher Marlowe’s 16th-century play, directed by late British visionary and provocateur Derek Jarman (Caravaggio, The Last of England). Edward II ruled England from 1307 to 1327; the film has the pleasure-seeking monarch (Steve Waddington) neglecting both queen (Swinton, a Jarman regular) and kingdom for his lowborn male lover Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan), thereby incurring the wrath of the nobility and the Church. Characteristic of Jarman's anachronistic, postmodern period pieces, the tale is told in ultra-chic modern dress. Annie Lennox appears in a musical cameo. Jarman’s film is now often cited as a key work of the era’s New Queer Cinema. “Through the miracle of cinema, two sensibilities and centuries become wondrously fused. Bold, passionate, and savagely beautiful" (Geoff Brown, The Times).


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REVIEWS

“Exquisite ... A strikingly original creation.”

Chicago Tribune | full review

"Edward II's fall was about more than his sexuality, but Jarman's use of that element of the historical story to reflect on modern homophobia makes for an intelligent and striking film."

The Guardian | full review