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300 Ratings

The Tempest

Directed by Derek Jarman
United Kingdom, 1979
Drama, Cult, LGBT+


The Tempest tells the story of Prospero the magician, who lives with his nubile daughter on an enchanted island and punishes his enemies when they are shipwrecked there. This Shakespeare adaptation was Derek Jarman’s third feature, shot on location at the ancient and ghostly Stoneleigh Abbey.

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The Tempest Directed by Derek Jarman

Critics reviews

Shakespeare it’s not—exactly. But why not? Whose take on Shakespeare gets to be called the real thing, these days? In Jarman’s version, there’s nothing post-colonial except the straw-strewn mansion where Prospero casts his spells; Caliban has either yolk or his dam’s nipple in his mouth, and properly terrifies.
October 29, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • FilmEdie's rating of the film The Tempest

    Mubi gives me enough characters to leave, as review, 140 heart emoticons. I seriously considered it... Playful, punk, iconoclastic adaptation, full of fanciful extravagance and Jarman's trademark exquisite lighting, colour, composition. Whatever it might lack in profundity it makes up for in charm and delight. (And, honestly, could Karl Johnson be any sexier?) OK, here goes: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • Alessandro Tinchini's rating of the film The Tempest

    Magic in cinema could be explained by this film. Scenes that come out from a Caravaggio canvas, light used in the best way. No wonder the director is a painter and works like one in filmmaking. The ending is the right crown to all which was build before and it always brings tears to my eyes, no matter how many times I watch it.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film The Tempest

    Non-subtitled version. For experimental theater lovers in general and Sheakespeare in the text in particular. Version non-sous-titrée. Pour amateurs de théatre expérimental en général et de Sheakespeare dans le texte en particulier.

  • msmichel's rating of the film The Tempest

    Jarman's take on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' is a mixed bag to say the least. In the early sections it seems earnest but dull but eventually winds up in high camp with dancing sailors and the singing of 'Stormy Weather'. Perhaps risqué or even dangerous in '79 but in today's context one can see tougher adaptations at 'Shakespeare in the Park'. Performances are all over the place though Toyah Wilcox is quite good.

  • Matthew_Lucas's rating of the film The Tempest

    Derek Jarman's avant-garde, colorful, and campy take on William Shakespeare's final play is not the best representation of the Bard's story, as it tends to get lost down its own rabbit hole of bizarre distractions (and focus on Caliban over Prospero). But there are some choice moments here, including the climactic tempest represented by a cabaret performance of "Stormy Weather" by Elisabeth Welch.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film The Tempest

    An eclectic magpie’s nest of a film: spry and light of foot, capturing a sense of lyrical magic with surprising ease. I disagree with the synopsis above about being a homosexual metaphor as this is one of the few films where Jarman doesn’t beat that drum so loudly. It’s more a humanist reading. One of the finer Shakespeare adaptations.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The Tempest

    Carnivalesque at points, this is marked by the competent theatricality, so typical of Jarman's world. The modernist touches are never an end in themselves and the gay dimension, contained and thus more effective. The wedding sequence towards the finale is masterful and uplifting!

  • DrFirestone's rating of the film The Tempest

    This is something quite unique. The atmosphere reminds me of a mad, confusing dream. The location adds to the sense of mystery, so does the brilliant use of light and shadows with carefully composed frames. The first impression is strong - the weird mood feels fresh, we get to know the characters and new ones are introduced, but it gradually looses some steam. Still, it's absolutely worth watching as an "experience".

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