The Last of England (film)

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The Last of England
The Last of England FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Derek Jarman
Produced by James Mackay
Don Boyd
Written by Derek Jarman
Starring Tilda Swinton
Nigel Terry
Jonathan Phillips
Spencer Leigh
Spring - Mark Adley
Narrated by Nigel Terry
Music by Simon Fisher Turner
Andy Gill
Marianne Faithfull
Mayo Thompson
Diamanda Galás
Barry Adamson
Cinematography Derek Jarman, Christopher Hughes, Richard Heslop, Cerith Wyn Evans
Edited by Derek Jarman, Peter Cartwright, Angus Cook
Release date
  • August 1987 (1987-08) (Edinburgh International Film Festival)
  • 14 February 1988 (1988-02-14) (Berlin International Film Festival)
Running time
87 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget GBP£276,000

The Last of England is a 1987 British arthouse film directed by Derek Jarman and starring Tilda Swinton.

It is a poetic, rather than realistic, depiction of what Jarman felt was the loss of traditional English culture in the 1980s[citation needed]. It is named after a painting by the artist Ford Madox Brown.

Jarman wrote a book to accompany the film, which deals more explicitly with the relationship he had with his father, who was a Lancaster bomber pilot in the Second World War. Jarman used the impact of his father's despair, depression and violence on his own artistic vision. The depression that his father suffered is attributed to the high number of fatalities that bomber crews experienced and the carpet-bombing of civilians. The film is also a means to explore his vision of the dissolution of traditional (pre-war) English life[citation needed]. (See his earlier film Jubilee to contextualize it with the 1977 punk movement of the time).

The book and to a lesser extent the film are very much in the tradition of Roland Barthes Camera Lucida, Susan Sontag's On Photography, Jeanette Winterson's 'Art Objects' and to a lesser extent John Berger's Ways of Seeing in that he has used the deeply familiar and personal as a vehicle for dialogue about art and contemporary culture.

Derek Jarman received the 1988 Teddy Award in Berlin for the film.

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