You could always rely on enfant terrible Derek Jarman for a spot of controversy. Made in 1990 on a miniscule budget and filmed only a few years before his death, The Garden effectively sees Jarman reimagine the life and death of Christ as an allegory for the persecution of gay men, complete with a transvestite Mary Magdalene and Pontius Pilate in a pair of small gold pants.
This intimate insight into Jarman's inner world was shot on Super 8 with the help of friends and collaborators, utilising a cast of iconic, religious figures that include Jesus, Judas and the Madonna (regular Jarman collaborator Tilda Swinton). Featuring a brilliant score by Simon Fisher-Turner and newly restored following a screening at the 2019 Berlinale, The Garden is a creative tour-de-force that has no interest in making any kind of concessions to traditional narrative cinema. It’s art in its purest sense, and art that’s unafraid to challenge long-held beliefs.
Warning! Contains blasphemous scenes, contentious imagery and three singing Santas.
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