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Plot: Fictionalized biopic of famed 17th century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio. As a young man, he gained the support of Cardinal Del Monte and Caravaggio proceeded to develop a new style of painting giving a more realistic view of the world in which he lived. He also begins love… Runtime: 93 min Release Date: 29 Aug 1986
Absolutely exquisite art film with Sean Bean stealing it (by moviefarie)
This beautiful visionary art film based on the director's take of the life of Caravaggio was worth the almost 7 years it took to make it. Derek Jarman had the brilliant sense to use Nigel Terry and Sean Bean as the lovers in this meditation on sexuality, criminality and art. This film is more of a fictionalization on Caravaggio using the artist's works as a way to pursue the story of the artist. It is beautiful, as are the actors and actresses, and Sean Bean is a revelation in this very early role, as he plays Ranucio, the love interest of Caravaggio. When he is on screen he steals <more>
the movie, as his animal magnetism, sexual energy, and wild persona grip the film and propel the story forward. This is an adult film with homosexual themes and might not be for everyone, but if one is adult and has a sense of taste, and loves art movies, this is a 10 out of 10.
A typically imaginative and highly idiosyncratic examination of the artist from director Derek Jarman (by ThreeSadTigers)
Quite simply unlike any other biographical film you will ever see, Derek Jarman's acclaimed production of Caravaggio 1986 is a lovingly constructed, highly personal cross-reference of tormented sixteenth century genius, twentieth century iconography and a somewhat satire on the shallowness of the burgeoning eighties' art scene of which Jarman was very much part of. Exploring Caravaggio's life through his work, the film distinctively merges fact, fiction, legend and imagination in a bold and confident approach that will probably leave serious art enthusiasts and casual viewers <more>
outraged by the complete disregard for accurate, historical storytelling.Shot with a typically avant-garde approach, director/writer Jarman doesn't so much fashion a biography of the artist, but rather, creates a personal reflection of the man using intimate characteristics that appeal to his film-making sensibilities. This makes Caravaggio more of an interpretation of the filmmaker than the artist himself; somewhat self-indulgently focusing on Caravaggio's struggle with bisexuality, perfectionism and wanton obsession; perhaps even glossing over the more intricate workings of the character, for instance, his own passion for art and his battles with the various religious and creative constraints of the period.It's a shame some of these ideas aren't further elaborated upon, because, at its heart, Caravaggio is really an exceptional film. As I commented earlier, it's perhaps unlike any other film you will ever see; an iconoclastic vision with a cinematic imagination that knows no bounds. Caravaggio is a film in which a 16th century setting gives way to the various anachronisms of passing trains, tuxedos, motorbikes, typewriters and chic nightclub settings. It is a film in which every frame is rendered in reference to the artist's work, composed with rich, shadowy colours that bring to mind the contrast between fresh and rotting fruit, and an unrivalled interplay between sound and production design that is reminiscent in its intense savagery of two dogs angrily ripping each other to pieces.There is no other 'based on fact film' that has demonstrated such a wild and evocative recreation of real-life hysteria and events, with the possible exception of Peter Jackson's masterful Heavenly Creatures 1994 or even some of Jarman's subsequent projects like Edward II 1991 and Wittgenstein 1994 . With a cast of now very well known faces, such as Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton, Michael Gough, Dexter Fletcher and Robbie Coltrane - not to mention some of the most beautiful photography ever committed to film - Caravaggio represents an impressive and enjoyable combination of art and cinema that is now, twenty years on, ripe for rediscovery.
An Artistic Portrait of an Artist by another Artist (by Rodrigo_Amaro)
Everything is divided in two concepts: rule and transgression. That it's not a bad thing but for most people it's difficult to accept them, to comprehend them and to make both things interesting. Most of the time we tend to only follow the rules and forget about transgression or even condemn it. Caravaggio was a transgressionist in terms of art with his painting evoking religious themes using as models simple people, peasants, prostitutes, fishers, creating powerful masterpieces; and a transgressionist with his dangerous lifestyle, sleeping with men and women, getting involved in <more>
fights, in one of these fights he killed a man, reason why he ran away to other countries, and then dying at the age of 38. Then we have a filmmaker, an true artist named Derek Jarman who knows how to portray art on film, breaking conventions, trying to do something new and succeeding at it. To name one of his most interesting films his last "Blue" was a blue screen with voice overs by actors and his own voice telling about his life, his struggle while dying of AIDS, and he manages to be poetic, real about his emotions, and throughout almost 2 hours of one simple blue screen he never makes us bored. Who could be a better director for a project about the life of Caravaggio than a transgressionist like Jarman himself?The movie "Caravaggio" is wonderful because it combines many forms of art into one film, capturing the nuances of Caravaggio's colors and paintings translated into the film art. It has poetry, paintings, music of the period of the story, sometimes jazz music. All that in the middle of the story of one of the greatest artists of all time.This is not a usual biopic telling about the artist's life and death in a chronological order, trying to do everything make sense. This is a very transgressional work very similar to "Marie Antoniette" by Sofia Coppola, so it might shock and disappoint those who seek for a conventional story truthful to its period. And just like Coppola's film "Caravaggio" takes an bold artistic license to create its moments. Jarman introduces to the narrative set in the 16th and 17th century, objects like a radio, a motorcycle, a calculator machine among others; sometimes this artistic license works e.g. the scene where Jonathan Hyde playing a art critic types his review on his typewriter, a notion that we must have about how critics worked that time making a comparison with today's critics, but it would be strange see him writing with a feather, even though it would be a real portrayal .The movie begins with Caravaggio played by Nigel Terry in his deathbed, delusioning and remembering facts of his passionate and impetuous life; his involvement with Lena Tilda Swinton and Ranuccio Sean Bean ; memories of childhood played by Dexter Fletcher ; and of course the way he worked with his paintings, admired by everybody in his time.All of this might seem misguided, some things appear to don't have a meaning but they have. I was expecting a movie more difficult to follow but instead I saw a truly artistic film, not pretentious whatsoever, that knows how to bring Caravaggio's works into life, with an incredible and fascinating mise-èn-scene, in a bright red that jumps on the screen with beauty. Very impressive. It's an unique and interesting experience. For those who enjoy more conventional and structured biopics try to watch this film without being too much judgemental, you'll learn great things about the Baroque period because it is a great lesson about the period. For those who like new film experimentations or want to watch a Jarman's film here's the invitation. 10/10
One explanation for the anachronisms in this movie can be a way to stop the viewer from falling into a pure passive state of mind and forcing the mind to think "What's happening?" raising awareness ... and Jarman was a supporter of early TOPY Temple Ov Psychic Youth that created Coum Language with this goal. Derek Jarman does an amazing visual transformation with Lena Tilda Swinton that really stunned me, it's one of the most beautiful portrays on movies. In my mind the question remains why did Caravaggio killed Ranuccio Thomasoni? Carvaggio's broken heart from what? <more>
Was he beginning to love or did he just felt betrayed enough to kill Ranuccio? Maybe Caravaggio did fell in love with Lena's image that was mostly is own creation .
It was only after the first ten minutes I realised it was a biography, and then another thirty minutes to notice the significant style of the film, and I was pleased I watched it. Basically, in the 16th Century in Italy, there was Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi Da Caravaggio Nigel Terry , and this is a fictionalised for the latter amount of hoe he created some of his greatest works. The film begins with Young Caravaggio young Dexter Fletcher creating his first works, including self-portrait styled Young Sick Bacchus, before moving to his adult days where he became a highly regarded <more>
Renaissance painter, including many erotic works of art. It sees his relationships with models Ranuccio Thomasoni Sean Bean , who posed in his paintings of St. John, and Lena Tilda Swinton , the three caught in a love triangle experts aren't sure whether Caravaggio was gay or bisexual . Caravaggio also dabbles in prostitution, and uses these prostitutes, drunks and people on the street to create some of the most magnificent pieces, all oil paintings on canvas. All this goes on until the point where he is forced to murder Ranuccio with a knife in the neck, and he dies of severe illness in 1610, with his best friend Giustiniani Nigel Davenport by his side. Also starring Garry Cooper as Davide, Spencer Leigh as Jerusaleme, Robbie Coltrane as Scipione Borghese, Michael Gough as Cardinal Del Monte and Jonathan Hyde as Baglione. Firstly I'll start with mentioning the brilliant art pieces featured in the film, most being religion and mythology themed, they included: Medusa I instantly recognised it , Amor Victorious the naked angel and Entombment the final piece featured . Terry excels in the leading role of the artist, Bean and Swinton as the smitten couple who connect with him are really good, and there is a great supporting cast, but what I loved most about this biopic was that it didn't stick to the conventions of period like your supposed to. Even though it is meant to be the 16th Century, the film slips in some small background and foreground modern day things, i.e. deliberate anachronisms e.g. tuxedos, calculators, cars, Christmas lights, magazines, typewriters, motorbikes, swearing and much more besides, that manage to fit themselves in the scenes they feature. I believe this technique and style is called "Mise En Scène" which I looked at a little in Film Studies , it is a brush stroke LOL of genius by accessible director Derek Jarman, and this absolutely deserves its place as one of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, it is a brilliant non-conventional biographical drama. Very, very good!
Derek Jarman has crafted a beautiful and unique work of art in "Caravaggio". Perhaps the fact that I have a great love for the work of the real Michelangelo Caravaggio, influences my judgment just a bit; It was quite enjoyable to see the paintings come to life, and to witness how they might have actually been created. In fact, much of Jarmans poetic film has the look of a lush, living painting. There is much to admire here besides the aesthetics; the talented and beautiful cast, led by Nigel Terry, the intense-looking Sean Bean, as Ranuccio, and the elegant Tilda Swinton, as Lena; <more>
the woman loved by two very passionate, and tormented men. The acting is all around excellent, but Nigel Terry as Michelangelo really stands out. He is great to watch, and brings life to a man the world knows not so much about. Also actor Dexter Fletcher was quite funny and likable in his portrayal of the younger Caravaggio. More than a historical, biographical account of the painter, this is more the study of a classic love triangle. Caravaggio's models were mostly street people, many of them also criminals, and it seemed that he often became personally involved with his subjects. His love for 'Lena' seems to be as strong, if not stronger, than his love for 'Ranuccio'. And this divided love has tragic consequences, for all involved. I didn't find "Caravaggio" an overly gay film, as the subject wasn't focused on obsessively, like other films of this nature tend to do. The love affair between Lena and Michelangelo was given as much attention as the relationship between him and Ranuccio. Therefore those who might feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, need not be, as it is actually quite accessible. Recommended, especially for admirers of the painter Caravaggio. As mentioned earlier, there are scenes that are modeled exactly on the paintings. To see these come alive is really something to behold. There is a new region 2 DVD from Germany that features the most beautiful transfer I have ever seen of any film. It comes close to "High Definition" quality, I recommend this as well.
Jarman's filmic imagery is beautiful, VERY Caravaggiesque. And - like good jazz, where a soloist improvisor may play snippets of other, well-known tunes in his/her improvisation - contains scene quotations from great works of art by others NOT Caravaggio. No one has yet mentioned the obvious take on Jacques Louis David's "Death of Marat," nor Jan Vermeer's "Girl with a pearl earring," which are the most obvious to me. There may be others. I'll have to watch it again more closely to see.This is a strange and wonderful film with many anachronistic jolts and <more>
some marvelous acting. When Tilda Swinton looks directly into the camera making me swoon , she presages her doing so many times three years later in "Orlando."If this film is to your taste, then see Julie Taymor's "Titus" - her take on The Bard's Titus Andronicus.
A strange, sensual, and visually striking movie (by kijii)
This film is No. 93 on the BFI's Top 100, and it was a great discovery for me. The only reason that I was even led to it at all was because it was on the BFI's Top 100. Caravaggio 1986 is a British film directed by Derek Jarman. The film is a strange, sensual, visually striking telling of the life of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio — with a great deal of poetic license.Jarman's movie is involved with the love triangle of Caravaggio Nigel Terry , Lena Tilda Swinton and Ranuccio Sean Bean and dwells upon Caravaggio's use of street people, drunks and prostitutes as <more>
models for his intense, usually religious paintings. As with Caravaggio's own use of contemporary dress for his Biblical figures, Jarman depicts his Caravaggio in a bar lit with electric lights, or another character using an electronic calculator.The film is notable for its texture and attention to detail, the intense performances and the idiosyncratic humor. By presenting Caravaggio as one of the founders of the chiaroscuro technique, it helped give expression to the legend that was beginning to form around him. According to this film, he died of wounds received in a knife fight. Jarman's Caravaggio also suggests that his legend ultimately eclipsed his enormous talent.Caravaggio was the first time that Jarman worked with Tilda Swinton and was her first film role. The film also features Robbie Coltrane, Dexter Fletcher, Michael Gough and Nigel Davenport. The production designer was Christopher Hobbs who was also responsible for the copies of Caravaggio paintings seen in the film.THIS Michelangleo is NOT the Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangleo that we associate with the Medici Family in Florence, the Pietà, the sculpture of David, or the ceiling paintings of the Sistine Chapel. THIS Michelangleo emerged later late 16th and early 17th Centuries in Southern Italy. Little was recently known of him until his rediscovery in the 20th Century. Though he only left behind some 70 paintings, he is virtually the father of Baroque painting. The original intention of this film was to make a conventional biopic of Caravaggio in Italy. However, due to financial problems, the filming had to be moved back to London. Here, on a smaller budget and over a longer period, Jarman loosely related events in Caravaggio's life by using imagined interactions of he and the models in his paintings. In this way, much of the film centers on the day-by-day workings in Caravaggio's studios AND—very importantly to Jarman himself a painter —on the paintings themselves. Thus, this unique film recreates as part of its fabric Tableaux vivants of such paintings as: Medusa, Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Bacchus, St. Jermome, and Saint Catherine. The entire film is told in flashback, showing us Caravaggio's memories from his deathbed, with his trusted life-long assistant, friend, model, and companion, Jersualeme Spencer Leigh , at his side. As revealed in flashback, Caravaggio had purchased Jersualeme, as a mute boy, from his mother. From that time forward, Jersualeme silently witnessed--and participated in--Caravaggio's life while preparing Caravaggio's paints, brushes, canvasses and set designs for his paintings.The structure of this film is never linear, but rather, made up of flashbacks within flashbacks. However, one is never too confused, since the paintings and their creation are always at the film's core. John Russell Taylor said of this film: 'Visually, almost every individual shot in..is stunning, exquisitely composed in rich color and given plenty of time for us to appreciate its niceties.' Art and film lovers will love this film, not only for its many-layered story, and how it is presented, but also for its acting, photography Gabriel Beristain , design and paintings Christopher Hobbs and Costume Design Sandy Powell . This is a film that should be seen over and over, with more layers of meaning and visual beauty to be revealed by each successive viewing.