Blue (1993 film)

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Film Poster for Derek Jarman's Blue.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDerek Jarman
Produced byJames Mackay
Takashi Asai
Written byDerek Jarman
Narrated by
Music bySimon Fisher Turner
John Balance
Peter Christopherson
Karol Szymanowski
Erik Satie
Brian Eno
Distributed byZeitgeist Films in US and Canada
Release date
Venice Biennale, June 1993, Edinburgh International Film Festival, August 1993, 3 October 1993
(New York Film Festival)
Running time
79 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

Blue is a 1993 drama film directed by Derek Jarman. It is his final feature film, released four months before his death from AIDS-related complications. Such complications had already rendered him partially blind at the time of the film's release, only being able to see in shades of blue.

The film was his last testament as a film-maker, and consists of a single shot of saturated blue colour - specifically International Klein Blue[1] (RGB 0, 47, 167, CMYK 100, 72, 0, 35).[2] This fills the screen, as background to a soundtrack where Jarman's and some of his long-time collaborators' narration describes his life and vision.


The film is split into two-halves, with differing strands of narration. The first story, intercut with the second, tells the adventures of Blue, as a character and color. Blue is described as getting into fights with other colors, 'Yellowbelly scorches the earth with its accursed breath...', to adventures, 'Marco Polio stumbles across the blue mountains...'

The other story features the day-to-day life of Derek Jarman, as a gay man living in 1990s London, and the complications of living with AIDS. Some of the events mentioned are realistic and true, such as visiting a café with friends, discussing the war in Sarajevo, and having difficulty with day-to-day life, such as putting clothes on backwards. Others feel more dreamlike, such as when Jarman wonders what is beyond the sky. This contrasts with thoughts of his health and how long he has left until he dies, the weakening of his body, and eventual downfall of his eyesight.

There are also a handful of sections in which Jarman daydreams. The narration makes mention of walking across the sky, and to wondering what an astronaut may be like.

The film's final moments consist of a set of names, being repeated. 'John. Daniel. Howard. Graham. Terry. Paul'. These names are all former lovers and friends of Jarman who had died of AIDS.

Jarman himself would succumb to AIDS on 19 February 1994 at the age of 52, just months after the film's premiere.


All narrators:[3]

Release and premiere[edit]

On its premiere, on 19 September 1993,[4] Channel 4 and BBC Radio 3 collaborated on a simultaneous broadcast so viewers could enjoy a stereo soundtrack. Radio 3 subsequently broadcast the soundtrack separately as a radio play and it was later released as a CD.

The film has been released on DVD in Germany and in Italy. On 23 July 2007 British distributor 'Artificial Eye' released DVD tying Blue together with Glitterbug, a collage of Jarman's Super 8 footage.[5]

Cinematographer Christopher Doyle has called Blue one of his favourite films, calling it "one of the most intimate films I've ever seen."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kastan, David Scott; Farthing, Stephen (2018). On Color. New Haven: Yale University Books. p. 115. ISBN 9780300171877. OCLC 1005127035.
  4. ^ "Blue (1993)". Archived from the original on 10 January 2011.
  5. ^ "A UK region 2 DVD review of BLUE and GLITTERBUG by Slarek". 7 August 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  6. ^ Johnston, Sheila (19 April 2005) Film-makers on film: Christopher Doyle

External links[edit]