le 22 janvier 2013
Comme dans "Fellini-Satyricon", on est transporté par le film "Sebastiane" dans les paradis et les enfers païens. Comme chez Oscar Wilde, on y tue l'objet intouchable, insaisissable de l'amour.
La première scène baroque fait penser à Ken Russell chez qui Derek Jarman a fait ses classes, puis on part près de la mer, sur des rochers surplombés par une tour et troués de verdure, sous une lumière grecque ou latine,on ne sait pas,mais quelle lumière ! , et Jarman devient peintre antique, tout à la dévotion des corps masculins qu'il caresse du pinceau de sa caméra comme le font l'eau,le soleil et la lune. Mais quand paganisme et christianisme se rencontrent, le jardin des délices devient jardin des supplices.
" Sebastiane" est un film d'artiste charnel, un film sensuel, langoureux, violent, sauvage, primitif, torturé d'absolu, beau comme le péché.
Si vous ne pouvez déjà plus tenir, achetez-le en import et en VO latine (oui, c'est une autre curiosité de ce film d'avoir été le premier à avoir des dialogues en latin,bien avant "La Passion" de Mel Gibson)... en attendant que la maison d'édition ErosOnyx sorte sans tarder un livre consacré à cet objet de désir, avec le film sous-titré français, comme le dit leur catalogue !
le 18 décembre 2013
This film is not a religious film. But this film is not an anti-religious film. This film is about the rejection of a group of men banned out of society to some outlandish deserted area and what happens among them who have nothing to do and are under the command of an officer who is banned exactly the same way.
First they are obsessed by sex since it is the main human activity they cannot have, at least in a normal heterosexual way. So they live that sexual obsession in jokes, in some brutality, in some dreams or some homosexual surrogate activities. But even so hunting a wild pig and killing it, having fake fights with wooden weapons are definitely not enough to satisfy their frustrations and their desires. If you are the officer you can order one simple soldier to satisfy your sexual impulse, but otherwise we are in a plain case of playing or raping.
The film, apart from showing the homosexual relation between two soldiers reveals the fact that there are two Christians in the group and they are taken as scapegoats. One of them is Sebastian and he is tortured by the officer and by the soldiers because he refuses to fight because Christians do not fight. The officer takes a great pleasure in whipping him, torturing him day and night, tying him down in the sunshine for hours, trying to force him to accept to let him make love to him, and strangely enough he does not rape him though Sebastian refuses to service him. The soldiers do not touch him because he is the officer’s prey, toy, possession. But they get even with the second Christian they torture physically just because he is a Christian. That is segregation and racism, hostility based on pure and simple religious rejection. The person who is not like you, who is different from you is a natural prey to your frustrations and compensations of these.
Then the killing of Sebastian the way it is known in Catholic and Christian folklore is of course staged by the officer who makes each man shoot one arrow at Sebastian and even the second Christian is forced to shoot his own arrow, and Sebastian is abandoned to die of his wounds in the sunshine.
But the film is targeting a far more important and universal theme. Anyone who is different is the potential victim of such persecution, and Derek Jarman is of course speaking of men who are gay in our society, at least in his society in 1976 and how they were rejected, ostracized, violated, raped, brutalized and even persecuted by the police. And beyond this sexual segregation the human species, hence humanity, has always cultivated segregation, persecution and apartheid against those they classify as different. The human species, hence humanity, is a segregative species. This is a deeply pessimistic vision but the evolution on such a subject is slow, very slow, and can take two steps forwards and three or four backwards just afterwards.
The most fascinating and strongest aspect of the film is the way Derek Jarman show suffering as being a beautiful experience. Sebastian transforms his torture into a direct contact with Jesus and God. He transforms the sun into the kiss of God. He finds his love in his being tortured, but his love goes to Jesus and God because his suffering is the proof of Jesus’s and God’s existence: they exist because he believes in them and because he is made to suffer because of this belief. His suffering casts his belief in bronze and Jesus and God in gold.
Then the plastic beauty of these bodies mostly nude or quasi-nude is just the mirage that Derek Jarman sends into our minds and our eyes: the mirage that the film is only about the beauty of male bodies, these bodies that are nothing but vanity because the only important thing is not the bodies of these men but their moral or ethical integrity, and then life and death are like the two sides of the same coin when you are a Christian. Life is dedicated to longing for death to rejoin the company of Jesus and God. And death is the escape door from the limited and locked up physical life into the eternal life of the soul in communion with God and Jesus, in absolute union with them. When we finally reach that understanding, that deep communion with man’s spiritual dream and project, the fact that they are in the nude, undressed does not count any more We do not see it any more, or we do not feel any appeal in that nudity.
That’s the real project of Derek Jarman: to make us reach beyond erotic or pornographic voyeurism to lift our souls and minds to the contemplation of purity in the midst of total perdition and sacrilege, perdition of human integrity and sacrilege of human perversity. This film should thus not be restricted because it is the most beautiful lesson of visionary enlightenment.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU