Derek Jarman (1942-1954) was een Britse filmmaker, schilder en schrijver. In Dancing Ledge beschrijft hij een deel van zijn leven in dagboekvorm.
26 december 1982. Monteverde, Tuscania
All through Christmas, spent in this old farmhouse high on a windy hill in Tuscany, I have told myself I must begin recording the labyrinthine saga of the Caravaggio film - 1.30 and the family has left for a hunters' lunch with the contadini, who have been chasing wild boar all morning through the maize fields and woods along the banks of the Ombrone, which glitters below. The first sporadic bursts of gunfire were to be heard at sunrise, and upon coming down for breakfast I found the maid, Zara, in tears: her dog had just died. Shot, I thought, like the butcher last year, by some local cowboy. As she brushed back the tears she told me her 'darling' had had a heart attack at the ripe age of fourteen, over-excited by the traditional Saint Stephen's Day massacre.
Six days ago, when Nicholas Ward Jackson, producer of the Caravaggio film, and I left very early in the morning for Rome, we had hoped to have the contracts signed by the Italian co-producers before the turn of the year... Nothing that I've worked on has ever produced such problems as this life of Caravaggio. Everyone is excited by it and everyone is suspicious. Friends find two years of delays perplexing, the lack of funds annoying. Why lose yourself in the chiaroscuro? Films about painters end up pleasing nobody; there is a visionary tug-of-war from which neither artist nor film-maker emerges victorious.
Michele C. (painter, 1572-1610)
Had Caravaggio been reincarnated in this century it would have been as a film-maker, Pasolini. It's impossible to have a conversation about the film in Rome without Pier Paolo's name being mentioned. Today Michele C. would toss his
brushes into the Tiber and pick up Sony's latest video, as painting has degenerated into an obscure, hermetic practice, performed by initiates behind closed doors. There is a remarkable lack of emotional force in modern painting. Who could shed a tear for it now? But you can weep at Pasolini's Gospel According to Matthew, and Ricotta can make you laugh. In 1600, who knows, painting might have evoked the same immediate response. Of course Pasolini painted very badly.
30 december. The 'star' over Bedlam
A tabloid, the Star, has devoted its front page to an attack on Channel Four for its policy of buying certain 'gay' films, Nighthawks and Sebastiane, particularly the latter. 'It must not be shown on television.'
When he first met me last March, Jeremy Isaacs, the director of Channel Four, said that although they had bought my films they would probably never show Sebastiane. I was surprised when he said it would be too 'controversial'.
Nicholas has not rung from Rome and the article won't make the launching of Caravaggio any easier.
Today the Telegraph printed a statement trom Channel Four denying that they intended to show either Sebastiane or Nighthawks. They explaied that they had been bought as part of 'a package'. Times change. Last week they completed the show print tor transmission.