Commodity and Family
Roger Wollen (1996) tells us in the introduction to Derek Jarman: a Portrait, that in Jarman’s work: ‘The use of home movies in [his] films recalls a sense of security in an England and an order of society that is past (The Last of England, The Garden and Jubilee) or creates a feeling of familiarity amidst alienation (The Garden)’ (p. 18). This tension between security and alienation, played out within scenarios which contextualise the family and community, are not only evident within Jarman’s work (discussed below), but also relate the larger issue of homosexuality aligned to or exposing the commodity of ‘everyday’ identity. Derek Jarman (see Figure 5.1) effectively reveals the rightful place of gay and lesbian identity as contextualised within normative family and community, juxtaposing memories of a traditional past against a challenging present. Whilst this dialectic does not integrate heterosexual and homosexual ideologies, through transformation and political juxtaposition we experience a reconstruction of historical and traditional identity forms. At the same time there is a foregrounding of the commodity of social identity, suggesting an exchangeability and recognisability in the stories which are told.
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