Edward II DVD
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Directed by Derek Jarman
Produced in 1991
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Emma Paterson sees Jarman's audacious take on Christopher Marlowe's play combine raw sexual energy with contemporary political relevance.
Jarman's provocative, contemporary dress adaptation of Marlowe's play is a majestic blend of visual audacity, political relevance and raw sexual energy, which wrests from the original work a lean, pulsating narrative of power, repression and jealousy.
At the centre of the dramatic conflict is the lowly-born Gaveston (Andrew Tierman), a wanton effete whose hold upon the King's (Steven Waddington) affections agitates the nobles and humiliates the Queen (Tilda Swinton). The resulting persecution of Edward and Gaveston by their opponents is creatively re-imagined by Jarman as a modern-day disavowal of homosexual love, a bold re-vision which culminates in a violent clash between the police and members of the gay rights organisation, OutRage.
Confrontational images such as these suffuse the canvas of Edward II with a political and sexual bravery that sit in happy rapport with its formal daring. More a succession of shadowy, minimalist tableaux than a continuous narrative, Jarman exploits this freedom to integrate contemporary dance and song with the dominant action - and to indisputably stunning effect.
Christopher Marlowe’s 16th Century play is radically adapted by Derek Jarman in one of his most powerful films. Using anachronistic imagery; modern dress, gay activists, battling riot police and Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter, the story of Britain’s only openly gay monarch and the persecution he suffered is given a contemporary resonance by Jarman, paralleling the injustice with prevailing modern-day homophobia.
King Edward II rejects his cold wife Queen Isabella and takes a male lover, the commoner Piers Gaveston upon whom he bestows gifts and power. The king’s behaviour enrages the sober, business-suited court officials and the spurned queen becomes a seething monster whose dresses and jewellery grow more outrageously lavish as her need for vengeance escalates and the plotting begins.
Publisher: Second Sight
Length: 87 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 1st March 2010
Cat No: 2NDVD3172
- Bonus Film: Derek's Edward - A documentary featuring interviews with producers Steve Clark-Hall and Antony Root, actor Steven Waddington, cinematographer Ian Wilson and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.