Film Series

November 01 - December 18, 2008
Derek Jarman

Phyllis Wattis Theater

With a style that straddled the serious and the frivolous, the classical and the punk, fearless filmmaker and gay-rights activist Derek Jarman showed a brazen disregard for commercial and conservative values, earning him both derision from the establishment and adoration from his loyal fans. SFMOMA presents this comprehensive season of Jarman’s films — from his groundbreaking and controversial first, Sebastiane, to his minimalistic and elegiac last, Blue. Also featured is the biographical documentary Derek (directed by Isaac Julien), which includes an interview with Jarman shortly before he died.

The SFMOMA blog, Open Space, will be hosting occasional roundtable discussions during the Derek Jarman series. Join us online at

$5 general; free for SFMOMA members or with museum admission (requires a free ticket, which can be picked up in the Haas Atrium). Double features: films offered on the same date are included in one ticket.


Buy tickets Sebastiane

1976, 86 min.

Sebastiane is hailed as the first film to portray unconcealed homosexuality in a positive light and also the first film entirely in Latin. Taking place in 300 A.D. in a womanless…

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Buy tickets Jubilee

1977, 103 min.

Queen Elizabeth I time travels to the late 20th Century only to find herself smack dab in the middle of a punk wasteland. Anarchy, rampant sexuality, nihilism, and…

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Buy tickets Caravaggio

1986, 93 min.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian baroque artist known as much for his glowing realistic paintings as his rebellious and dangerous ways. This film is a fictionalized…

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The Tempest
Buy tickets The Tempest

1979, 92 min.

A punk inspired adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest. Much of the Shakespearian dialogue has been removed and haunting images successfully take its place. Filmed in Stoneleigh Abbey,…

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Buy tickets The Last of England

1988, 87 min.

Using all the elements of film that he was known for — non-linear narrative, arresting images, punk, homosexuality, and visual poetry — Jarman tackles the subject of…

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Buy tickets The Garden

1990, 92 min.

One of Jarman’s last films, The Garden follows the story of a gay couple who face public ridicule, humiliation, and death. Intertwined with the couple’s trials are…

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Buy tickets Wittgenstein

1993, 75 min.

A theatrical interpretation of the life and ideas of the 20th Century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Through sketches, Jarman presents Wittgenstein as a child, a lover of young…

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Edward II
Buy tickets Edward II

1991, 90 min.

Using period dialogue and contemporary sets, Jarman recreates the Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan drama. On of his most accessible films in term of narrative structure, Edward II

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War Requiem
Buy tickets War Requiem

1989, 92 min.

A visual exploration of Benjamin Britten's musical composition "War Requiem," using documentary footage from 20th Century wars and Jarman's own stills and film collages.…

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The Angelic Conversation
Buy tickets The Angelic Conversation

1985, 78 min.

This experimental film features Judi Dench narrating Shakespeare sonnets over stop motion images of a man seeking out his lover. The delicate, hypnotic and eerie dream world is…

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Buy tickets Derek

2008, 76 min. (directed by Isaac Julien)

Directed by Julien Isaac and written and narrated by Tilda Swinton, this documentary follows the life of the late director Derek Jarman. His friends employ home movies, unseen past…

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Buy tickets Blue

1993, 79 min.

Widely known as Jarman's final film, Blue consist of a single shot of an all encompassing blue screen. This film was made while Jarman was dying of AIDS and gradually losing his…

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Support for the Derek Jarman film series is provided by the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund.