Diary note 38: Derek Jarman

18 VIII 2021

There is perhaps no greater artistic event in Berlin at the moment than the resurrection of Derek Jarman.

I saw his work on film when he was dying of Aids in the nineties. It is now analyzed theoretically by a team of German artists.

The thematic fragments of his last film ‘The Garden’ are shown on separate screens in the cellar of a crematorium. He made this film while living in retirement in a hut on the English coast near a nuclear plant. Its electrical cables are always visible in the air. On this sandy shore he creates a small garden, as a microcosm of natural revival. The drama of the epidemic is contrasted by love and what Aids destroyed. The suffering of Christ is also there.

The despair of seeing his own body entrapped in illness and dying is overcome by the belief in generosity and friendship.

I felt tears in my eyes, an uncommon occurrence.

The importance of the film lies in the present context. The world needs a new bond with nature, and artists are intuiting that need.

Cocteau and Pasolini come to mind as makers of similar fantastic diaries, but nature was not yet central to their work, but man.