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The Angelic Conversation

DVD cover
Directed by Derek Jarman
Produced by James Mackay
Written by William Shakespeare (Sonnets)
Narrated by Judi Dench
Starring Paul Reynolds
Phillip Williamson
Music by Coil
Cinematography Derek Jarman and James Mackay
Editing by Peter Cartwright
Derek Jarman
Cerith Wyn Evans
Release date(s) Japan February 28, 1987
Running time 78 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Angelic Conversation is a 1985 arthouse drama film directed by Derek Jarman. Its tone is set by the juxtaposition of slow moving photographic images and Shakespeare's sonnets read by Judi Dench. The film consists primarily of images of homosexuality and opaque landscapes through which two men take a journey into their own desires.

Jarman himself described the film as:

"a dream world, a world of magic and ritual, yet there are images there of the burning cars and radar systems, which remind you there is a price to be paid in order to gain this dream in the face of a world of violence."


The soundtrack to the film was composed and performed by Coil, and it was released as an album of the same title. In 2008 Peter Christopherson of Coil (with David Tibet and Ernesto Tomasini) performed a new live soundtrack to the movie during a special screening at the Turin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.


Shakespeare's sonnets

14 sonnets the film features are:

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now,
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
O me, what eyes hath love put in my head,
Which have no correspondence with true sight!
O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power
Dost hold Time's fickle glass, his sickle hour,
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme,
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired
Is it thy will, thy image should keep open
My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey'd


  • Dave Baby
  • Timothy Burke
  • Simon Costin
  • Christopher Hobbs
  • Philip McDonald
  • Toby Mott
  • Steve Randall
  • Robert Sharp
  • Tony Wood
  • Judi Dench (Narrator)
  • Paul Reynolds
  • Phillip Williamson


  1. ^ Jarman, Derek (1997). Kicking the pricks. ISBN 978-0-87-951844-8

External links



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