elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Derek Jarman & Kevin Collins

In both his films and his writings, Derek Jarman's explicit project was to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.  At the Tyneside Film festival in 1987 he met Kevin Collins who was then 21. He had recently graduated and was writing software for the Government. He had been brought up in a village near Newcastle by parents who were socialists and devout Methodists. Derek Jarman pursued Kevin Collins by letter and within a few months Kevin Collins went to London and moved in with Derek Jarman. They both were committed campaigners with OutRage!. Kevin Collins nursed Derek Jarman for the final seven years of his life.

Keith maintained singular ideas on many things. I think this was part of the appeal for Derek. Although Keith was not an avid fan of Derek's films at first, in time he came to recognize their worth. He acted under the screen name of Kevin Collins and would play a major part in The Garden. In Edward II (1991) he was the jailer.

Delphinium: A Childhood Portrait of Derek Jarman (2009): a "stylized and lyrical coming-of-age" short film combining narrative and documentary elements directed by Matthew Mishory depicting Jarman's "artistic, sexual, and political awakening in postwar England." Jarman's surviving muse Keith Collins (his partner from 1987 to 94) and Siouxsie and the Banshees founder Steven Severin both participated in the making of the film, which had its world premiere at the 2009 Reykjavik International Film Festival in Iceland, its UK premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London, and its California premiere at the 2010 Frameline International Film Festival in San Francisco. In 2011 the film was permanently installed in the British Film Institute's National Film Archive in London.


In both his films and his writings, Derek Jarman's explicit project was to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.  At the Tyneside Film festival in 1987 he met Kevin Collins who was then 21. Jarman pursued Collins by letter and within a few months Kevin Collins went to London and moved in with Derek Jarman. They both were committed campaigners with OutRage!. Kevin Collins nursed Derek Jarman for the final seven years of his life. Jarman died on February 19, 1994.


©Ron Strutt. Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, Kent. Prospect Cottage was the home of film maker Derek Jarman at the end of his life (©17)
The Garden is a 1990 British arthouse film by director Derek Jarman produced by James Mackay for Basilisk Communications in association with Channel 4, British Screen and ZDF. It focuses on homosexuality and Christianity set against a backdrop of Jarman's bleak coastal home of Dungeness in Kent, and his garden and the nearby landscape surrounding a nuclear power station, a setting Jarman compares to the Garden of Eden. The film was entered into the 17th Moscow International Film Festival. Kevin Collins plays the role of one of the two gay lovers.



©Gorup de Besanez. Derek Jarman, Venice Film Festival, 1991 (©17)

Jarman (January 31, 1942 – February 19, 1994) was born in Northwood, England, into a middle-class, Royal Air Force family, and his early life was spent on military bases and at public school. At his father's insistence, he took a degree at King's College, London, before going to art school. Arriving at the Slade in 1963, he found an exciting milieu, including openly gay artists such as David Hockney and Patrick Procktor, and he showed his paintings in several exhibitions. During this period, he enjoyed to the full the sexual and artistic freedoms of the 1960s in London.

With the acquisition of a Super 8 camera in 1970, Jarman began recording the details of his own life and discovered the autobiographical subject that was to become the driving force of all of his subsequent films and books. His creative work always criss-crossed the boundaries of established artistic media: painting, filming, writing, gay activism, and even gardening all reinforced one another to form part of an increasingly explicit project to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.

He began his career as a painter and stage designer, including designing the sets for Ken Russell's film The Devils (1971). His own first feature film Sebastiane (1975) became an unexpected hit due to its open homoeroticism and helped inspire the growing gay liberation movement.

In Dancing Ledge (1984), Jarman began writing autobiography that combined material from his own life with a sense of English history and the mythic past. In 1986, he discovered he was HIV-positive and decided to make that knowledge public: Without intending to, he was to become an exemplar of living creatively with AIDS.

Modern Nature (1992) is his most substantial literary achievement. It records in journal form his life in London and Dungeness (where he owned a cottage by the sea), his friends, his film projects, his past life, his present reading and thinking, and his efforts to see his garden flourish on the exposed, rocky beach.

In the next book, At Your Own Risk (1992), the awareness of AIDS is greater, and so is the anger and sexual frankness. Queer politics informs his struggles against disease and against the persistent homophobia of his society. These books precisely evoke English cultural life over a thirty-year period.

From canonical literary texts, Jarman made brilliantly reimagined versions of Shakespeare's The Tempest (1979) and Marlowe's Edward II (1991). The Tempest is full of spectacle and wit. Edward II modernizes Marlowe's analysis of sex and politics to apply it to contemporary England and to expose the centuries-long oppression of homosexuals by the English ruling class. The books that came out of the making of particular films stand as significant works in their own right.

His last film, Blue (1993), shows a pure blue screen with a complex soundtrack of music, sounds, and words (some from Jarman's own hospital notes) to represent the approach of blindness. Jarman said the screen was blue because you can't see the virus. In the grim atmosphere of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jarman became a fierce fighter for--and celebrator of--queer sexuality.

Kevin Collins, born Keith Collins, was brought up at a village near Newcastle, England, by parents whose beliefs were socialist and devoutly Methodist.

He was the long-time roommate and partner of the director Derek Jarman. The two met at the Tyneside Film Festival in 1987. At the time, Collins was writing software for the government.

Collins helped and assisted Jarman throughout his final illness, up until the director's death in 1994.

In his diaries, Jarman referred to Collins as 'H.B.,' which apparently stood for 'Hinneybeast.'

Collins is said to be a 'long-boarder' (apparently a reference to long-board surfing) and to have worked for a number of years in the 1990s and 2000s as a fisherman.

In 2000, he was the editor of the book 'Smiling In Slow Motion: Derek Jarman.'

He continues to oversee and manage the famous gardens built by Jarman at his house 'Prospect Cottage,' in Dungeness, Kent, England.

Citation Information
Author: Normand, Lawrence
Entry Title: Jarman, Derek
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2002
Date Last Updated October 10, 2007
Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/jarman_d.html
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date February 19, 2013
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
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Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
-13: 978-1500563325
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Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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