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Glitterbox: Derek Jarman (Caravaggio / Wittgenstein / The Angelic Conversation / Blue / Glitterbug) (2008)

Tilda Swinton , Judi Dench , Derek Jarman  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Glitterbox: Derek Jarman (Caravaggio / Wittgenstein / The Angelic Conversation / Blue / Glitterbug) + Derek Jarman Collection (Sebastiane / The Tempest / War Requiem / Derek) + Jubilee (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tilda Swinton, Judi Dench, Sean Bean, Nigel Terry, Michael Gough
  • Directors: Derek Jarman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 313 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00167TTG2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,663 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Glitterbox: Derek Jarman (Caravaggio / Wittgenstein / The Angelic Conversation / Blue / Glitterbug)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Rare, behind-the-scenes footage
  • Extensive video and audio interviews
  • Production galleries
  • 20-page illustrated booklet with essays
  • Interview with Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell
  • Tribute by Peter Christopherson of cult band, Coil
  • 54-minute film collage Glitterbug

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Painter, poet, activist and queer cinema maverick, Derek Jarman (1942-1994) is one of Britain's most visionary and extraordinary film artists. Often in collaboration with actress and muse Tilda Swinton (2007 Oscar Winner for Michael Clayton), Jarman's lush, experimental reflections on art, politics, sexuality and identity transcend and subvert both the genres in which he worked--the period costume drama, the biopic--as well as the boundaries of so-called gay filmmaking.

This four-disc set boasts two of Jarman's most accomplished arthouse features (Caravaggio and Wittgenstein), and two of his most personal and avant-garde works (Blue and The Angelic Conversation). GLITTERBOX also debuts a treasure trove of additional material including the posthumously assembled 54-minute film collage Glitterbug; rare behind-the-scenes footage; extensive video and audio interviews; production galleries; and a 20-page illustrated booklet with essays, an interview with Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell and a tribute by Coil's Peter Christopherson.

The volatile life of the eponymous 17th-century painter is gorgeously re-imagined through his brilliant, near-blasphemous paintings and flirtations with the underworld. With Tilda Swinton, Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gough, and Nigel Terry in the title role.

1986 - 90 minutes - UK - Color - In English - 16:9 aspect ratio - Not Rated

- Restored anamorphic transfer, created from Hi-Def elements
- Video interviews with actress Tilda Swinton, actor Nigel Terry and production designer Christopher Hobbs
- Audio commentary by cinematographer Gabriel Beristain
- Rare audio and video interviews with Derek Jarman
- Storyboard, notebook, production photo and sketch galleries
- Original theatrical trailer
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

A visually stunning and profoundly entertaining portrait of the irreverent 20th-century philosopher who preferred detective fiction and Carmen Miranda musicals to Aristotle.

1993 - 69 minutes - UK - Color - In English - 16:9 aspect ratio - Not Rated

- Restored anamorphic transfer, created from Hi-Def elements
- Video interviews with actress Tilda Swinton, actor Karl Johnson and producer Tariq Ali
- Extensive behind-the-scenes footage
- Video introduction by film historian Ian Christie
- The Clearing (Alex Bistikas, 1994), a short film featuring Jarman
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

This ethereal Super-8 mélange beautifully layers languorous music by cult band Coil and Dame Judi Dench's emotive readings of Shakespeare love sonnets.

1985 - 78 minutes - UK - Color and B&W - In English - 1.33:1 aspect ratio - Not Rated

- Restored transfer
- Video interviews with producer James Mackay and production designer Christopher Hobbs
- Derek Jarman in conversation with Simon Field (1989)
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

Jarman's most daring cinematic statement (a year before his death from AIDS in 1994) lays bare his physical and spiritual struggle through a rich tapestry of voices, music and a pure cobalt screen.

1993 - 76 minutes - UK - Blue - In English - 16:9 aspect ratio - Not Rated

- Glitterbug (1994), 54-minute collage of Jarman's footage posthumously assembled by the filmmaker's friends and featuring original music by Brian Eno
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

Glitterbox, with its extra film, Glitterbug, compiled by Derek Jarman's friends following his death, is an especially personal tribute to this idiosyncratic director, writer, and artist. Renowned for his outspoken dedication and experimental portrayals of politically radical heroes, Jarman's films challenge the conventions of narrative filmmaking and expand narrow definitions of sexuality. This boxed set contains The Angelic Conversation (1985), Caravaggio (1986), Wittgenstein (1993), and Blue (1993), which, viewed together, clarify Jarman's preoccupation with the ways language and imagery intertwines or demand separation. Each film contains heavy theatricality, unabashed passion, poetic screenwriting, and a finely tuned color palette, lending the works extreme drama that is an acquired taste. In The Angelic Conversation, a young Morrissey-type searches longingly for love until he finds his possible angel in the form of another hunky sensitive guy. The super-8 footage is romanticized by Judi Dench's reading of certain Shakespearean sonnets that question life's meaning, over a moody, ambient soundtrack by Coil. Caravaggio is an eccentric portrayal of the artist, Michelangelo di Caravaggio (Nigel Terry), embroiled in a hot love triangle between figure model Ranuccio (Sean Bean), and Lena (Tilda Swinton). Far from a conventional biopic, the film capitalizes on Caravaggio's maniacal reputation, with lurid decadence and emotionally weighty scenes throughout. Wittgenstein, co-written by Terry Eagleton, also takes liberties with its depiction of this famed philosopher, played by Karl Johnson. Filmed entirely against a black backdrop, the movie focuses on the thinker's homosexual identity crisis, throughout childhood, then as he makes academic headway at Cambridge. Blue, filmed right before Jarman's death as an expression of his fears and shock at his loss of eyesight, is 76 minutes of blue screen, which stirringly comes alive as Tilda Swinton and Nigel Terry read from Jarman's journals his musings about the color, against a soundtrack of ticking clocks and more composed by Eno, Momus, and Simon Fisher-Turner.

Extras on each disc, including multitudinous interviews with Jarman's friends, the man himself, and a short film called "The Clearing" (1994), in which Jarman silently acts, are plentiful and great. But the real extra gem here is Glitterbug, a fifty-minute compilation of Jarman's unused home film and video footage, set to Brian Eno music. Filmed on sets, in artist's studios, at parties, fashion shows, and on travel excursions, Glitterbug is a visual diary of Jarman's inspirations. Moreover, as reference material it establishes his aesthetic sensibilities, his tastes for the lavish, the punk, and for other humans fully dedicated to art. --Trinie Dalton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I'm struck by the coincidence that Zeitgeist's remarkable retrospective of some of Jarman's greatest works -- was released in the same week that Disney opened "Wall.E," which also raises the question about accepting outsiders.

Of course, it's a slam dunk that people want to hug the lovable little robot. Jarman's challenge is far higher octane. He was -- until his untimely death from AIDS in the 1990s -- a real-life, sometimes-fire-breathing, British artist and activist.

Solid evidence of Jarman's stature of an artist is the Who's Who of famous British actors and actresses who worked in his avante garde productions, including Judith Dench, Tilda Swinton and even Laurence Olivier, who made his final film, "War Requiem," with Jarman. (However, "War Requiem" isn't in this particular set.)

But, Jarman wasn't interested in celebrity. Rather, he was deadly serious about probing the outer boundaries. He had no interest in producing Hollywood hits. Quite the contrary. In fact, the "extras" in this new DVD set include an interview with Jarman in which he makes precisely that point.

In one interview, he says that his whole body of work was intended as a critique of American cinema. It wasn't a question of artistic options. He had lots of lucrative work from which to choose. In his prime, for instance, Jarman was a sought-after director of music videos. When his late-in-life production, "Blue," was released -- a joint broadcast was arranged involving both British television and radio networks to broadcast the image and the audio in optimal quality throughout the UK. (And, "Blue" is in this new set.)

No, Jarman followed the road less traveled because the question he wanted to ask over and over again is: How do true outsiders form community?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect January 24, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My favorite film in this collection is Caravaggio, the cinematography is something to marvel at. But my most favorite thing is the half hour interview with Derek on The Angelic Conversation supplement, which adds dimension to The Last of England among others. Everything is great in this set. Now all I need is The Garden, all his short films and music videos, then I can die happy.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection of films... problematic packaging February 24, 2010
This is a superb collection of films by arthouse director Derek Jarman. It contains his most accessible film (the wonderful CARAVAGGIO) and perhaps his most experimental (the aesthetic tone-poem THE ANGELIC CONVERSATION).'s product review illustrates the generous amount of extras that Zeitgest has provided with these films and the booklet of essays is also a must for fans.

Unfortunately I must deduct a star from my rating due to the boxset's design. Zeitgest has decided to package the discs in tight cardboard pockets. While it saves space on your shelf and looks very nice, the DVDs themselves are susceptible to scratches every time you slide them out of their respective slots. While three of these titles are available for individual purchase, BLUE (Jarman's devastating meditation on his deteriorating health from AIDS) is exclusive to this set.
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Young he was then and Shakespeare's Sonnets was an easy subject, even in their homosexual reading. Many sonnets are absolutely ambiguous as for the sexual orientation and it is easy to make them lean left or right.

The whole objective is to illustrate sonnets that are pure words and music. Two main characters are walking around or through, up and down, a desolate purely mineral landscape in which we only have rocks, fumes and various smokes coming out of caves. It is dirty, dusty, black and white and the two boys are dressed in some kind of formal pants and coats.

The film is the impossible story of the meeting of the two boys who desire a male contact and can't have it or have to cross all kinds of obstacles and hostility to little by little getting close to it. The first distant contact will be when they reach some ocean or sea and one is swimming. That swimming becomes extremely sensual and sexual because the second is observing and projecting himself into the water to have that liquid contact with the body he desires. In fact the director is playing with our own senses and he knows that we are voyeurs in our deepest dimension and to see someone swimming is more erotic than to see the same one naked because of the water into which the voyeur is projecting himself and hence achieving full, total intimate contact with the desired person.

Finally their desires erupt into a physical fight, naked torso against naked torso and it is this fight that turns into a love scene. They have finally found each other. They can hug each other, embrace each other, mutually caress their bodies, sleep and rest together, be two in one and one in two.
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