'For days now I have tried to start this diary, but the clatter of my existence has warned me off; the first mark on the page eludes me...'
Derek Jarman's Smiling in Slow Motion concludes the journey started in Modern Nature, these previously unpublished journals stretch from May 1991 until a fortnight before his death in February 1994. Part diary, part observation, part memoir, Jarman writes with his familiar honesty, wry humour and acuity. Friends, collaborators and enemies are catalogued as he races through his last year painting, film-making, gardening, and annoying his targets through his involvement in radical politics.
Writing from his Charing Cross Road flat, on his visits to international film festivals, his world famous garden at Dungeness in Kent, and finally from his bed in St Bartholomew's Hospital, Jarman illuminates an era which seems more ephemeral and out-of-grasp with each passing day.
Smiling in Slow Motion is not a document of illness, regret and resignation, but one of endeavour, remembrance and love.
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Derek Jarman was one of the most interesting independent film makers of the last quarter of the 20th century. His latest volume of his diaries starts from where his previous volume, Modern Nature, left off, covering the period from May 1991 to February 1994, just a fortnight before his death from an AIDS-related illness. Fans will relish the accounts of back-stage in-fighting over low budgets and impossible timetables, and his acerbic comments on the gay scene. Jarman's zest for, and curiosity about life never diminished, and these last, previously unpublished, writings, penned from his flat in London, the wild and beautiful garden he fashioned in the shadow of Dungeness power station in Kent, and his hospital bed, are a testament to his courage and irreverence in the face of a horrifying illness. Jarman was a one-off, an iconoclast-- Smiling in Slow Motion is an acute reminder of his absence. -- Christopher HartReview:
"Present on every page is the creative sparkle and compellingly generous spirit of a man who was in every way an uncompromising individual" ( The Times)
"In these diaries... the artist and film director emerges as a down-to-earth visionary... this perceptive and enjoyable work is something of a miracle" ( Independent)
"For all his anger, Jarman never seems brutalised. He retains his humanity and his good humour. His is a wonderfully garrulous, mercurial, polymathic daemon" ( Literary Review)
"Jarman [is] the sort of troublemaking visionary who one day may be compared with Blake" (John Gill Time Out)
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Book Description VINTAGE (RAND), 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0099284189