“Jarman Recollections”, in APEngine, September 2009

Derek Jarman

By Daniel Fawcett. Originally published in APEngine, 22 September 2009

It was upon being shown a fuzzy VHS copy of The Garden, one Sunday afternoon in 1998, by my uncle, that I decided I wanted to make films. Never before had I considered that a film could be a personal expression and exploration of ideas. I wasn’t inspired to make films that looked like The Garden, but to make films that are as personal to me as The Garden is to Derek Jarman.

As filmmakers, we are now in a privileged position: it is possible for us to produce ambitious films for very little money and without involving ourselves in a situation of artistic compromise. If there is anything we should learn from Jarman it is that we should be making films we believe in and use whatever means we have available to us.

Filmmakers should be feeling liberated. Now, more than ever before, we should be seeing unique visions. A new language of cinema could emerge. Like Jarman, we need to seek a cinema of questions, exploration and experimentation. I would love to see more theatre and more magic, less business and less money, and just a whole lot more honesty. A film crew should be like a family and the film like your child, raised with love, imperfect and beautiful; you must allow it enough freedom to have a life of its own.