"An evenhanded, pleasingly earnest, and terrifically through biography of the English filmmaker, artist, writer, and gay advocate, and all-around mischief-maker."
"Jarman himself demonstrated a predilection for rewriting history in his often unreliable accounts of his own life. He thus presents a formidable task for the biographer, which may explain why DEREK JARMAN seems obsessively informative: a forest of names, dates and scrupulously detailed accounts is buttressed by a meticulous catalog of Jarman's works. In many respects this is a definitive text, but we often find ourselves lost in the fun house."
"Though Peake's prose can seem drab alongside his subject's extravagantly poetic musings, Jarman's life is colorful enough to withstand even the most pedestrian retelling. We learn that a frequent sexual fantasy involved homosexuals from history--Edward II, Caravaggio--looming over the bed. Peake, whose reportorial rigor isn't always matched by analytic prowess, attributes this to Jarman's 'need to belong.' The author fares better with more straightforward psychology, notably Jarman's relationship with his strict, distant father, a Royal Air Force officer who exhibited kleptomaniac tendencies late in life."
"The film director Derek Jarman was fond of (among other things) Christian iconography, so he would be pleased to know that the first major rendering of his life surpasses the combined length of the four gospels. For the less reverently inclined, the epic scope of Tony Peake's biography raises a knotty puzzle. How much is too much? First a proposed yardstick: A book that spreads 52 years across 613 pages, that takes 120 pages to spring its subject from school and more than 200 pages to get to his first directorial effort."
From the Publisher
In this biography of Derek Jarman, his former literary agent, Tony Peake, draws on Jarman's archives and his own personal experience of working with the multi-talented artist to offer fans a complex portrait. He chronicles Jarman's career, focusing on the making of his films. Peake also discusses Jarman's personal issues, including his unconventional attitudes toward sex and thoughts about being HIV-positive.
England’s most controversial filmmaker and director, Derek Jarman was also a gifted writer, artist, gardener, designer, and an outspoken AIDS and queer rights activist. Jarman’s story stretches from his childhood in postwar Britain to art school days at the Slade School of Art and the making of many acclaimed films, including Sebastiane, Jubilee, Caravaggio, and Blue. A chronicle of sexual fear and repression, the devastation of disease, and inimitable courage and grace, Derek Jarman: A Biography is an honest and brilliant tribute to the uncompromising life and art of Derek Jarman.