Very, very loose 'biography' of troubled Italian Master Michele de Caravaggio (Nigel Terry) that glazes over the very basics: his poverty as a young artist, his drinking problem, his love of sharp objects and, naturally, his God-given artistic ability. Caravaggio's life story, however, takes second place to the real focus, namely Jarman's anachronistic eccentricities, impeccable costume design and sense of décor (he and production designer Christopher Hobbs make much out of very little). A straight-forward approach wouldn't have been satisfying - and Jarman's later, and to my mind, better film on Ludwig Wittgenstein is an even wilder avant-garde pastiche - but this disassembled story fails to manage even a basic psychological exploration of the artist.
Director: Derek Jarman
Year Released: 1986