On the 19th anniversary of his death, we remember one of the most iconic and respected filmmakers of all time, Derek Jarman.
Known for his ability to bridge the gap between the alternative and the mainstream, Derek Jarman spread creativity and spoke innovation with films such as Caravaggio, War Reqium and Wittgenstein. i-D online met Jarman’s close friend and fellow filmmaker John Maybury to find out more about the director, diarist, artist and gardener (see film). Maybury’s film career began when Jarman gave him his first super-8 camera aged 18, which led to the fresh faced art student designing the sets and props for Jarman’s iconic punk film, Jubilee. Having edited the battle scenes from War Requiem, their collaborations became synonymous with the growing genre of New Queer Cinema, and Maybury famously completed the last 30 minutes of The Last of England, 1987. Jarman directed many of the most iconic music videos of the late 70s and 80s, working with artists such as The Sex Pistols, Brian Ferry, Pet Shop Boys and The Smiths. Conceptualising music videos to become works of art in their own right, Jarman and Maybury worked together on the legendary The Queen Is Dead film for The Smiths.
A lifetime of achievement, expression and innovation, Derek Jarman is still the name that gets people excited. His approach inspired The Jarman Award in 2008, now an annual event sponsored by Film London and Channel 4, which awards £10, 000 plus a Channel 4 broadcast commission to the most avant-garde young filmmakers.
i-D unearthed some candid grainy portraits of Jarman by his friend Matthew Lewis, who rests in peace with him, and were given a piece of writing by Lewis on Jarman, via Lewis’s partner Andrew Shanahan….
From Matthew Lewis:
“The artists Gilbert and George told me ‘He’s not worth it, he’s not a good enough artist’. Richard Salmon, Derek’s art dealer, said ‘I’ve been waiting to see which way the axe would swing.’ John Maybury rang me. Apparently Derek joked he would leave him his ashes to put into a painting. The Estate would not help me but they wanted half the money. There was a rumor that Derek was the head of some kind of cult… Ever since that day five years ago when I went to the graveyard in New Romney and discovered the narcissistic subject matter of the negatives Derek Jarman gave to me I have researched their mystery. Life is the mirror, Art the reality.”
Text and Film: Declan Higgins
Portraits: Matthew Lewis, courtesy Andrew Shanahan