Expanding the Frame at the Walker with Derek Jarman

By Steve Sedlak

The third Expanding the Frame film series at the Walker Art Center has given the Twin Cities a chance to take a peek at the work of some filmmakers they might not normally come in contact with. These past four or five weeks have showcased the work of Kent MacKenzie (“The Exiles”), Terence Davies (“Of Time and the City”), Jia Zhang-ke (“24 City”), Fernando Eimbcke (“Lake Tahoe”) and even the films of the experimentally canonical fimmaker Bruce Conner (“A MOVIE”).The series divides the films being screened into two main “threads.” The films that fall into the category of “Place and Time” focus on creative reworkings of narrative cinema. The “Tribute to Experimentation” grouping does what its title suggests, spotlighting the work of artists like Bruce Conner and Pat O’Neill.

This weekend the Walker presents the work and life of Derek Jarman, a British gay/labor activist filmmaker of the late 20th century, as part of the “Tribute to Experimentation” thread of the film series. On Friday the Walker will screen “Derek,” a biographical documentary on the life and times of the filmmaker directed by Isaac Julien. Actress Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) guides the audience through the life of the man who featured her in much of his late work (“Caravaggio,” “War Requiem”). This will be the film’s area premier.

Saturday and Sunday will be devoted to screenings of some of Jarman’s most well-known films: “Jubilee,” “Caravaggio” and “Sebastiane.” These three films alone show how absolutely diverse the director’s oeuvre is. “Jubilee” is a time-traveling cult classic, featuring Queen Elizabeth in late 70s London. “Caravaggio” takes up the life of the artist of its title, and “Sebastiane” is a reworking of the tale of Saint Sebastian with a queer lens.

On the following Thursday at 8:30 p.m. there will be a screening of Jarman’s music films, including “Broken English,” “Imagining October,” and “The Queen is Dead.” These screenings are free (!) as a part of Target Thursdays. You have no excuse not to go unless it involves transportation or homework.

Admission to most screenings is $8, or $6 for Walker members. The series runs until Feb. 28. For more information, visit http://filmvideo.walkerart.org/.