Blue

Blue ★★★★★

Blue is not a film. My its inherent existence, it is an exercise in patience. That phrase has a negative connotation, yes, and in many ways it can be used in that way to describe Blue, but somehow I found it to be a wholly positive thing.

Created while director/writer/voice star Derek Jarman was going blind as a result of his AIDS, Blue is in all essence a radio play, one that's only 'story' is told through sound and narration. It is a complete reversal of the age-old film rule: "show, don't tell." Blue is entirely about telling. He is telling you about his condition, about his life, about the colour blue. It is simultaneously the colour of warmth, of coldness, of infinity, and of the abyss. You lose yourself in blue.

I know because I lost myself in the blue of Blue. An hour and fifteen minutes of a dark room and nothing but blue staring back at me. It was incredible. Such a simple idea, yet at the same time so incredibly complex. Blue is the colour of the heavens, of the sea and the sky, and the Earth we live on. We are drawn to blue as flies are to light. Look at advertising, blue is used in film posters and logos and packaging constantly, because it has a sense of royalty and richness to it. It feels like a sophisticated colour.

I saw Blue at the Tate Modern in London, and I can tell you that the only way to see Blue is in cinema conditions. Sit yourself down, stare at a massive field of monochrome and have no distractions. I began to feel lost, like I wasn't sitting in an art gallery, I was in the blue. I saw shapes and textures and different colours even though in my head I knew there were none really there. It was the most surreal experience of my life, and it made me realise how untrustworthy our own senses were. My hearing began to become heightened and I could hear people outside the screening room being louder and louder until I began to wonder if it was in the film itself. I wished they were shut the hell up until I realised the volume hadn't changed.

It was just me.

Blue is like a sensory deprivation tank in film form. The stories that are told are wonderfully written, intricately constructed words that leaped out of the speakers to create wonderful images in my mind. Or at least, they would have done, if I hadn't have been overcome but the sea of blue in front of me.

Blue doesn't just have no images, it actively tries to get rid of any notion of them. It is anti-image. It forces you to question your own senses, to experience first hand what a blind man who knows he will soon die is going through. It isn't a call for pity, but a look into the creator's psyche, an invitation into his mind.

I don't know if everyone will like it, hell I don't know if I liked it, and it's not even one of those films I'm saying everyone 'needs' to see. But if you can see it in a theater or gallery where you can access those conditions, it's an experience unlike any other.

"Charity has allowed the uncaring to appear to care."