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Reflections of Derek Jarman

The iconoclastic gay British film director sadly died 25 years ago today at the age of 52 from AIDS. Encountering him from afar made a great impression on me.

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Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly, Critic

Derek Jarman died 25 years ago today from AIDS at the age of 52. This was a great loss to the arts and to humanity.

In the 1980’s I lived in London for six months and saw him a few times at the Kings Cross pub The Bell during Sunday’s gay nights. These fleeting encounters remain indelible memories. I was aware of him back then having seen several of his films but was too shy to make contact.

Tall, distinctive and mirthful, he had the imposing countenance that recalled the Renaissance figures he often depicted in his monumental works. He was invariably holding court with a coterie of glittering young men.

In that era, I also happened to attend an art gallery exhibition where these representative portraits of him by artist John Watkiss were shown and which fancifully yet realistically represent him for posterity.

It is a privilege to have a forum to humbly commemorate his existence and tragic end. He heroically fought and raged against his impending fate most supremely in his last film Blue that he made when he was blind.

Today he is honored in London:

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (767 Articles)
A native New Yorker, Darryl Reilly graduated from NYU with a BFA in Cinema Studies. For the Broadway League, (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers) he developed, and for five years conducted their Broadway Open House Tours, which took visitors through The Theatre District and into several Broadway theaters. He contributed to Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition (Applause Books). Since 2013, he has reviewed theater, cabaret, and concerts for

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