Edward II (film)

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German title Edward II
Original title Edward II
Country of production United Kingdom
original language English
Publishing year 1991
length 90 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Derek Jarman
script Derek Jarman,
Stephen McBride ,
Ken Butler
production Steve Clark-Hall ,
Anthony Root
music Simon Fisher Turner
camera Ian Wilson
cut George Akers

Edward II is a British period film by Derek Jarman from 1991. It is based on the play of the same name by Christopher Marlowe , which was first performed in 1592.


After the death of his father and his appointment as king, Edward II brings his friend and lover Piers Gaveston back from exile in France. Despite his low origin, he gives him influence and titles of nobility, which Piers uses to torture and imprison the Bishop of Winchester, who was responsible for his exile. Gaveston and Edward indulge in homoerotic games and experiences. However, Gaveston's rise quickly caused outrage among the long-established aristocrats and the church, which was expressed in particular by the influential army leader Roger Mortimer . Queen Isabella also joins an intrigue against Gaveston because she is spurned by her husband because of Gaveston. After hard pressure, the king finally gives in and has Gaveston banished to France again.

Isabella and Mortimer have now become a couple and now want to get rid of Gaveston entirely. In return, the aristocrats agree to Gaveston's return to England. But Edward's joy at his return is short-lived, as Mortimer now starts a war against the king to bring himself and Isabella into power. Mortimer brutally murdered Gaveston and later Spencer, Edward's homosexual servant. Increasingly indifferent after Gaveston's death, Edward cannot bring himself to defend himself against Mortimer and is thrown into the dungeon. Mortimer and Isabella have now taken power and want to murder the king. When Edward's brother Edmund of Kent criticizes it, Isabella kills him.

Lightborn, charged with killing the king, has the right to be assured that only he should know how the king dies. One sequence shows Lightborn killing Edward by inserting a red-hot iron into his butt. In another sequence, however, it is shown how Lightborn throws away his instrument of torture and kisses the king. The triumph of Mortimer and Isabella, however, only lasted for a short time, as the neglected king's son Edward III. seize the throne and lock them up.


Jarman tried, based on Marlowe's play, to obtain an independent interpretation of Edward's life: Edward was murdered because of his sexuality, which historians then denied for centuries, according to Jarman. As with Caravaggio , his other historical film biography, the postmodern Jarman deliberately allowed anachronisms to occur - for example flashlights, walkmans and a guest appearance by Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox with the Cole Porter song Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye . Jarman was also interested in a current time reference, so in one scene of the film - fighting on Edward's side against police officers - members of the activist group OutRage! to see with their signs.


In the 1991 dubbed version, Ulrich Matthes speaks for Steven Waddington as King Edward, while Stephan Schwartz lends his voice to Andrew Tiernan as Galveston.


At the 1992 Berlinale , Edward II won the Teddy Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize (Forum) . At the Venice International Film Festival , Jarman's film was nominated for the Golden Lion , while Tilda Swinton was honored with the Coppa Volpi for best actress.


On the US critic portal Rotten Tomatoes , all 10 reviews of Edward II are positive. Today, Edward II is often considered a key work in the current of New Queer Cinema .

The film service described the film as “worth seeing”, but noted that in the German dubbed version it “lost a lot of its charisma”: “With updated references, the material is interpreted as dealing with the exercise of social power and violence and the suppression of homosexuality. The theater adaptation, which is outstanding in its sophisticated aesthetics, challenges the audience willing to discuss with its relentless social criticism, which is recognizably shaped by the suffering of the AIDS-marked director. "

Karsten Witte wrote in Die Zeit that Jarman's film “wanted to be neither the Middle Ages nor the modern times”. Jarman's trademark, the fold of time, the “non-simultaneity of language and prop”, is treated more inconspicuously in Edward II and with surprisingly quiet wit. Witte criticized that Jarman only focused on the representation of gay men on athletics and thus shows a Manichean point of view: "Is the social oppression of minorities offset by the fact that the aesthetics of that minority suppress their own infirmity, the everywhere virulent frailty?" Edward II was “Elizabethan tragedy, the criticism of Thatcherism, the idealization of old, historical male love and a glaring flash of gay demonstrations against the withdrawal of anti-discrimination laws. Every element wants to be equally important and calls out in the most beautiful confusion: See me! ”The result is arbitrariness and the impression that the heterogeneous forms in the film attack one another. “What Jarman instigates with political right, but without aesthetic torches, is a small, clever civil war among the genres. Well given, Derek! "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Edward II: A Critical Reader . Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4725-8406-9 ( google.de [accessed November 13, 2018]).
  2. German synchronous index: German synchronous index | Movies | Edward II. Retrieved November 15, 2018 .
  3. ^ Edward II. Retrieved November 13, 2018 .
  4. Edward II. Retrieved November 8, 2018 (English).
  5. Edward II | The Cinematheque. Accessed November 13, 2018 .
  6. Edward II . ( filmdienst.de [accessed on November 8, 2018]).
  7. Cinema: Derek Jarman's film "Edward II.": Well given! In: ZEIT ONLINE . ( zeit.de [accessed on November 8, 2018]).
  8. Cinema: Derek Jarman's film "Edward II.": Well given! In: ZEIT ONLINE . ( zeit.de [accessed on November 8, 2018]).