Just Jarman

The main takeaway from Milk -- don’t worry, we’re not going to spoil the ending -- is the importance of gays and lesbians expressing who they truly are. Gay expression, with all its iconoclasm, eroticism, and mystery, is the overriding theme of an ongoing Derek Jarman retrospective. Searing and self-indulgent, profound and frivolous, Jarman’s uncompromising films remain touchstones of the queer avant-garde 15 years after AIDS claimed him. Today’s double bill features his later films, beginning with 1990’s The Garden, a re-imagining of the Passion of Christ with the main character represented by a pair of gay lovers. In the first film in which he confronted being HIV-positive, the director’s leanings toward experimentalism trump his narrative impulses. Made three years later, the minimalist, studio-bound Wittgenstein, offers an unexpected depiction of the gay 20th-century Austrian philosopher. It begins with the young Ludwig declaring, “If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” It reads like an epitaph, which may well have been Jarman’s intention. (The series continues through Dec. 18)
Thu., Dec. 4, 7 p.m., 2008

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