SeLever's picture


I recently saw a movie by the late Derek Jarman of the title, "Sebastiane."

Before Derek Jarman had died, he was found to be HIV-positive. He was open about homosexuality. He once regarded the British film industry as containing "hardly any room for us to kiss."

The movie Sebastiane was released in 1976, and it was the first movie entirely in Latin. The latin even goes so far as to be naughty at moments. But of course, the majority of the movie was fairly naughty anyway.

Basically the story goes something like, the kingdom is failing, the emperor blames the christians, and sets up a bloodhunt to destroy that particular faith. The movie follows the days of one squadron.

The movie contains no war scenes. The movie has less than five women within the first ten minutes of the film. The majority of the costumes are loincloths and there is only one... "sex" scene. All of the conflict is within the squadron.

The characters are really strong, and some of the messages are powerful as well. Sebastiane is a christian who refuses to fight. Much of the group is prejudice against him. The captain wants Sebastiane as a lover, but Sebastiane resists. Sebastiane endures lengthy punishments and appears quite delusional throughout the film.

The group talks about all of the sex they plan on having when they get back to rome. When any of them have gay relations, the rest are completely open about it. The guys prank eachother, and there's one scene showing an erection.

I'm going to say that I didn't really know what was going on through some of the film. I understood the characters, though. Some were mean. Some were nice. A lot of the time, I think I could make references and quirks relative to modern society.

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience. Old acting is really hard to handle, though. There's a lot of loud and unnecessary yelling that hurts my skull. It's why I don't usually watch old movies.


jeff's picture


There's a new documentary coming out of the UK on the work of Derek Jarman, called "Derek." Just playing the SF gay film festival next week, so probably be a whole before it has distribution/DVD release.


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SeLever's picture

yeah I've heard of that.

That's the reason that I went looked this up. I saw something on nytimes about jarman and decided that I should see why they'd make a documentary. I've never seen a movie like Sebastiane before, I'll say that much.

I'd link to the article I found, but nytimes isn't loading or something.