Filmed in 1979 and released publicly one year later, The Tempest is an abstract 16-millimeter feature film based loosely on the "magical" Shakespeare play. Director/writer Derek Jarman also throws in a few Shakespearean sonnets when the spirit moves him. Essentially, Jarman uses the material as the basis for a homosexual metaphor, most notably in the Prospero/Caliban relationship. He would further elaborate this concept in his next film, The Angelic Conversation. Jarman's The Tempest by its very nature speaks to a small, specialized audience.
by Hal Erickson synopsis