Monday, March 30, 2009

A Singular Vision - Sean Bean Working with Jarman and Kapadia

Sean Bean working with Derek Jarman

Though known for working with directors that specialize in action films and thrillers, Sean Bean has also done his share of work seen in art house cinemas. He seems to enjoy working with directors with a singular vision. Let’s look at two films and two directors as an example- Derek Jarman’s, “Caravaggio” and Asif Kapadia's “Far North”.

Derek Jarman’s film uses the barest outlines of the real life of artist Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio (1573 - 1610) as a frame for his most mainstream film. Jarman is making a larger statement about the life of the artist in society.

Audiences that have only seen Sean Bean in Hollywood movies may be surprised that as Ranuccio, Sean Bean plays the lover of both Caravaggio (Nigel Terry) and his model, Lena (Tilda Swinton). For Sean this was his first theatrical film and he thrives with Jarman’s semi-improvisational style, and community of actors, artists, amateurs, and crew committed to one man’s vision. The powerful impact of the young and smoldering Sean Bean when Caravaggio first sees him is unforgettable.

Film critics, both when the film was released in 1986, and recently with the release of the DVD, agree on Sean’s performance:

In Jarman's Caravaggio, actor Terry discovers Ranuccio Tommasoni (played by Sean Bean with beefy, rugged, dangerous charm) at a prizefight. Newsweek, 1986.

Bean runs away with the film, a smoldering presence that oozes sexuality and pops off the screen (I loved the final sequence with Carvaggio and Ranuccio), 2008

In Caravaggio, a young Sean Bean demonstrated not only considerable acting talent, but also a charismatic screen presence working with experimental director Derek Jarman. Years later he was to work again with another director with a singular vision, a mature actor working with a young director this time, Asif Kapadia. (Look for Part II soon)

Have you seen Caravaggio? See if you know the answer to the following questions?

Sean Bean and his character Ranuccio were both good at the same sport. What sport was this?

What did Sean Bean and Tilda Swinton have in common at the time of this film?

Sean also appeared in a second Jarman film. Can you name the film? What was unique about Sean’s role in this second film?

1 comment:

  1. Love this site, will keep coming back for more.