Andrew Thomas Wilson
|Edited by||Paul Humfress|
Sebastiane is a 1976 Latin-language British historical thriller 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 gay audience, was controversial for the homoeroticism portrayed between the soldiers and for being dialogued entirely in Latin.
In the fourth century AD, Sebastiane is a member of the Emperor Diocletian's personal guard. When he tries to intervene to stop one of the Emperor's catamites from being strangled by one of his bodyguards, Sebastiane is exiled to a remote coastal garrison and reduced in rank to private. Although thought to be an early Christian, Sebastiane is a worshipper of the Roman sun god Phoebus Apollo and sublimates his desire for his male companions into worship of his deity and pacifism. Both incense Severus, the commanding officer of the garrison, who becomes increasingly obsessed with Sebastiane, tries to assault him, and ultimately presides over his summary execution for refusing to take up arms in defence of the Roman Empire. Justin, one of his comrades in arms, is also in love with Sebastiane, albeit necessarily unrequited, but he forms a friendship with the stubborn celibate pacifist. Adrian and Anthony, two of Sebastian's fellow soldiers, are gay and in obvious love with one another.
The Emperor's guests included such notables as Peter Hinwood, Nell Campbell, and Patricia Quinn (all of Rocky Horror fame), Jordan, Philip Sayer, Charlotte Barnes, Nicholas de Jongh, Duggie Fields, Christopher Hobbs, Andrew Logan, 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."