Hugely significant to Derek Jarman, his biopic of the Italian Baroque painter with whom he strongly identified was developed over many years.
Ultimately shot on 35mm film, it looks incredible: the tableaux and sets project rich, painterly depth, brightness and colour. Sean Bean and Tilda Swinton deliver fine performances as the model and partner caught up in a complex – and fatally doomed – love triangle with the famous artist. Caravaggio struggles to reconcile the demands of authority (in the form of his church patrons) with his own artistic and sexual needs – a tension then very close to Jarman’s heart.
Available here in High Definition for the first time outside of 2018’s Jarman Vol.1 (1972-1986), Caravaggio is arguably the director’s most popular film.
Caravaggio in Docklands (1985, 15 mins): shot on VHS by director Ron Peck (Nighthawks), this footage was recorded at Limehouse Studios on the Isle of Dogs, East London where Derek was about to shoot Caravaggio
Kind Blasphemy: Nigel Terry on Derek Jarman and Caravaggio (2007, 7 mins): the actor and star of Caravaggio shares his memories of meeting and working with Derek Jarman
Tilda Swinton on Caravaggio and Derek Jarman (2007, 9 mins): interview with the Oscar-winning actress
Italy of the Memory: Christopher Hobbs on Caravaggio (2007, 8 mins): archive interview with the film’s production designer
Dexter Fletcher on Caravaggio (2014, 10 mins): the actor and director recalls his first meeting with Derek Jarman
Christopher Hobbs Remembers Caravaggio (2018, 6 mins): further reminiscences of the making of Caravaggio