Sebastiane, a film in Latin



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[Okay, admit it: You’ve always wanted to watch a feature film in Latin, even vulgate. The Romans were far less prudish about the human form than we moderns have become. Apparently, they also wore fewer clothes! Certainly, judging by Roman artworks, sexuality was celebrated not repressed.

Homosexuality, however, was looked down upon as ‘too Greek’ though its adherents were not seriously ostracised from polite society (that’s the kind with orgies). So bear in mind this is the story of the martyrdom of St. Sebastian ( from a gay point of view (and I don’t mean happy!). We celebrate the female form but are a bit discomfited by naked men—there are few loincloths here.

St. Sebastian may well be the patron saint of gay folks everywhere to judge by the 14th century painting by…Il Sodoma!  We’re certain some Roman Catholic priests (you know the kind) thoroughly enjoyed Sebastiane in the privacy of their cloisters. There may be a cautionary message in the Sebastian story of the emperor Diocletian tying him to a tree and shooting him full of arrows; he was rescued and healed by Irene of Rome before being clubbed to death for criticising the emperor!]

Internet Movie Database:

Torrents at The Pirate Bay:


Directed by Derek Jarman, Paul Humfress

Produced by Howard Malin, James Whaley

Written by Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman, James Whaley

Starring Leonardo Treviglio, Barney James, Richard Warwick, Neil Kennedy

Music by Brian Eno, Andrew Thomas Wilson

Cinematography Peter Middleton

Editing by Paul Humfress

Distributed by BBC Worldwide

Release date 1976

Running time 86 min.

Country UK

Language Latin

Budget $45,000


Sebastiane is a 1976 film written and directed by Derek Jarman and Paul Humfress. It portrays the events of the life of Saint Sebastian, including his iconic martyrdom by arrows. The film, which was aimed at a homosexual audience, was controversial for the homoeroticism portrayed between the soldiers. It is significant for being the first film to be entirely recorded accurately in Latin, which went as far as the translation of some dialogue into vulgar Latin.


Actor / Character

Barney James Severus

Neil Kennedy Maximus

Leonardo Treviglio Sebastian

Richard Warwick Justin

Donald Dunham Claudius

Daevid Finbar Julian

Ken Hicks Adrian

Lindsay Kemp Dancer

Steffano Massari Marius

Janusz Romanov Anthony

Gerald Incandela Leopard Boy

Robert Medley Emperor Diocletian

The Emperor’s guests included such notables as Peter Hinwood, Jordan, Charlotte Barnes, Nell Campbell, Nicholas de Jongh, Duggie Fields, Christopher Hobbs, Andrew Logan, Patricia Quinn, and Johnny Rozsa.


Margaret Walters, author of The Nude Male, commented that Sebastiane, “where male nudes in various stages of ecstacy positively littered the screen”, was “successfully aimed at a very specialized homosexual audience.”[1]

See also

List of historical drama films

List of films set in ancient Rome


Audio recording of Derek Jarman interviewed by Ken Campbell at the ICA, London, 7 February 1984


1. ^ Walters, Margaret (1978). The Nude Male: A New Perspective. London: Paddington Press. p. 299. ISBN 0 7092 0871 5.


1. Trivia at IMDB


External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Sebastiane


Sebastiane at the Internet Movie Database

Jim’s Reviews: Jarman’s Sebastiane

copy of the film at the Internet Archive


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