Caravaggio. 1986. Great Britain. Derek Jarman. 93 min.
Screenplay by Jarman, Suso Cecchi d’Amico. With Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton, Michael Gough. Jarman’s Caravaggio is a feverish, chiaroscuro portrait of the Baroque artist who hustled painting commissions out of the Church while consorting with male lovers, prostitutes, and the criminal underclass of early 17th-century Rome. “The idea that [Caravaggio] was an early martyr to the drives of an unconventional sexuality is an anachronistic fiction,” observes biographer Andrew-Graham Dixon—an anachronism that Jarman exalts in his series of sublime, and sublimely vulgar, postmodern tableaux. Tilda Swinton makes her feature debut, the start of a long and cherished collaboration with Jarman. Preserved by the BFI in a new 2K digital version, remastered from the camera negative; courtesy Zeitgeist Films.