Edward II

Film Movement   (1991) / Region A
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Edward II

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Edward II

Christopher Marlowe's notorious 16th century play was radically adapted into this gay cinema masterpiece by the late, great queer iconoclast Derek Jarman - and it's easily one of his most powerful films. Using anachronistic imagery, modern dress, gay activists battling riot police and Annie Lennox singing Cole Porter, the story of Britain's only openly gay monarch and the persecution he suffered is given a contemporary resonance by Jarman, paralleling the injustice with prevailing modern-day homophobia. King Edward II (Stephen Waddington) rejects his cold wife Queen Isabella (Tilda Swinton) and takes a male lover, the commoner Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) upon whom he bestows gifts and power. The king's behavior enrages the sober, business-suited court officials and the spurned queen becomes a seething monster whose dresses and jewelry grow more outrageously lavish as her need to vengeance escalates and the plotting begins.


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