Blue (1993 film)

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Film Poster for Derek Jarman's Blue.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Derek Jarman
Produced by James Mackay
Takashi Asai
Written by Derek Jarman
Narrated by
Music by Simon Fisher Turner
John Balance
Peter Christopherson
Karol Szymanowski
Erik Satie
Brian Eno
Distributed by Zeitgeist Films (USA)
Basilisk Communications Ltd
Release date
Venice Biennale, June 1993, Edinburgh International Film Festival, August 1993, 3 October 1993
(New York Film Festival)
Running time
79 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Blue is the twelfth and final feature film by director Derek Jarman, released four months before his death from AIDS-related complications. Such complications had already rendered him partially blind at the time of the film's release, only being able to see in shades of blue.

The film was his last testament as a film-maker, and consists of a single shot of saturated blue colour filling the screen, as background to a soundtrack where Jarman's and some of his long-time collaborators' narration describes his life and vision.


Blue is split into two half, both of which having differing narration. The first story, intercut with the second, tells the adventures of Blue, as a character and color. Blue is described as getting into fights with other colors, 'Yellowbelly scorches the earth with its accursed breath...', to adventures, 'Marco Polio stumbles across the blue mountains...'

The other story features day to day life of Derek Jarman, as a gay man living in nineteen nineties London, and the complications of living with AIDS. Some of the events mentioned are realistic and true, such as visiting a café with friends, discussing the war in Sarajevo, and having difficulty with day to day life, such as putting clothes on backwards.Others feel more dreamlike; Derek wonders what is beyound the sky. This contrasts with health, mentioning how long he has left until he dies, the weaking of his body, and eventual downfall of his eyesight.

There are also a handful of sections in which Derek daydreams; the narration makes mention of walking across the sky, and to wishing to what an astronaut may be like.

Blue's final moments consist of a set of names, being repeated. 'John. Daniel. Howard. Ghraham. Terry. Paul'. These names are all former lovers and friends of Jarman that had died of AIDS.

Jarman himself would succumb to AIDS on 19 February 1994 at the age of 52, just months after the film's premiere.

Release and Premiere[edit]

On its premiere, on 19 September 1993,[1] Channel 4 and BBC Radio 3 collaborated on a simultaneous broadcast so viewers could enjoy a stereo soundtrack. Radio 3 subsequently broadcast the soundtrack separately as a radio play and it was later released as a CD.

The film has been released on DVD in Germany and in Italy. On 23 July 2007 British distributor Artificial Eye released DVD tying Blue together with Glitterbug, a collage of Jarman's Super 8 footage.

Cinematographer Christopher Doyle has called Blue one of his favourite films, calling it "one of the most intimate films I've ever seen."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Blue (1993)". 
  2. ^ Johnston, Sheila (19 Apr 2005) Film-makers on film: Christopher Doyle

External links[edit]