My first Jarman movie, and it’s a proper narrative bio-pic, full of painting and poetry and light. Clear dialogue from a superb group of actors. I did wonder about the 17th century historical accuracy of a few lines – I try not to think about such things, but fortunately Jarman sent the signal to stop worrying when a character pulled out a solar-powered calculator halfway in.
Jarman’s fifth feature, and from the descriptions of the others, this sounds like one of his more conventional movies. Older Caravaggio and his mute assistant and Tilda would become Jarman regulars.
Caravaggio Nigel Terry, who’d played King Arthur in Excalibur:
Assistant and adopted son Jerusaleme: Spencer Leigh
Lover of the boxer and Caravaggio, in her feature debut, Tilda Swinton:
Roustabout boxer Sean Bean, who may have murdered pregnant Tilda:
Young Caravaggio: Dexter Fletcher would go on to direct fellow bio-pic Rocketman.
Cardinal Michael Gough, who encourages all this: