The Last of England
- UK / Germany
- 1h 31min
- Directed by: Derek Jarman
- Written by: Derek Jarman
- Cast: Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry, Jonathan Phillips, Spencer Leigh, Spring - Mark Adley
Jarman's personal commentary on the decline of his country in a language closer to poetry than prose. A dark meditation on London under Thatcher.
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Derek Jarman’s The Last of England screens accompanied by a live score. Jarman originally created the film in response to Thatcher's Britain, a country in decline – the score reawakens the film in response to Brexit Britain, connecting distant moments in British history and uses the country's collective musical heritage to explore ideas of nostalgia, pride, and their toxic possibilities.
Tilda Swinton stars in this personal commentary of a country in decline in a language closer to poetry than prose. A dark meditation on London under Thatcher. In 1987, in a world where homosexuality and AIDS victims were looked down upon, Jarman acted as a filmic spokesperson for those who remained marginalised. The Last of England is an angrily poetic, personal portrayal of a country that he saw was in ruins. Through the experimental form, through the post-apocalyptic depiction of the country, Derek’s film dismantles the establishment and highlights the horrors of modern-day Britain through a dream-like state.
Taking inspiration from the use of Maryanne Faithful’s rendition of ‘Skye Boat Song’ in the original score, the live score trio join the dots between distant moments in British history and the countries' collective musical heritage to explore ideas of nostalgia, pride, and their toxic possibilities. The score is played out with violin, voice, guitar, bowed bass, effects, cymbals, mbira, amplified objects and feedback systems, an expanding collection of homemade flutes and an air raid siren.
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