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Actress Tilda Swinton collaborates with director Isaac Julien on this richly textured tribute to the late British filmmaker Derek Jarman. In 2002, Swinton penned the text entitled "Letter to an Angel" in memory of her deceased friend and collaborator. In this film, that elegiac piece of writing is carefully woven with a previously unseen interview with Jarman to create a highly original biography that doesn't rely on talking-head interviews but instead a dreamlike flow of images and observations. Jarman's old family films flicker across the screen as his parents recount his… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"They're interesting tales lovingly rendered."
‑ Michael Esposito, Chicago Tribune
"Brilliantly serves as a touristy tour into the gay and avant-garde world of Brit cinema."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"In Derek, Isaac Julien evokes the graphically complex style of Derek Jarman's radical filmmaking to commemorate the tensions and tangled ambitions of a modern, politically aware gay artist."
‑ Armond White, New York Press
"This fragmentary portrait of the British filmmaker, painter, set designer and writer Derek Jarman, is a cinematic scrapbook of the life and times of an iconoclast, aesthete and provocateur."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Strikes a moody and atmospheric tone that's perfectly suited to Swinton's somnolent voiceover. And a wealth of imagery makes it worth seeking out"
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"An earnest ode to an outlaw artist, Derek lovingly but unadventurously documents the life and art of the late British filmmaker Derek Jarman."
‑ Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
"Derek Jarman, queer provocateur and one of British cinema's most fearless directors of the past 40 years, rightfully receives the hagiographic treatment in Isaac Julien's slender portrait."
‑ Melissa Anderson, Time Out New York
"This homage to one of the world's most creative, impassioned artists paints a fascinating portrait of Derek Jarman's life through the filmmaker's most extensive on-camera interview and a letter of retrospection written and read by long-time collaborator a"
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
More reviews for Derek on Rotten Tomatoes