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Derek Jarman’s “Jubilee” (1978)

Posted March 17th, 2012

Film, Popculture, Videos


Queen Elizabeth I travels to late twentieth-century Britain to discover a tawdry and depressing landscape where life mostly seems aimless and is anyway held cheap. Three post-punk girls while away their vacuous existence as best they can, from time-to-time straying into murder to relieve the boredom.

Director and Writer: Derek Jarman
Stars: Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell and Toyah Willcox

Numerous punk icons appear in the film including Jordan (a Malcolm McLaren protégé), Toyah Willcox, Nell Campbell, Adam Ant (born, Stuart Leslie Goddard), Demoriane and Wayne County. It features performances by Wayne County and Adam and the Ants. There are also cameo appearances by The Slits and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The film was scored by Brian Eno.

WFMU: “After the release of Derek Jarman’s Jubilee in 1978, Vivienne Westwood, outraged at what she saw as a misrepresentation of punk, took to her then preferred medium, the t-shirt, to express her displeasure. The “Open T-Shirt to Derek Jarman,” with its wordy scrawl, is a rather confusing cultural artifact in that it now seems rather counterproductive. For starters, punk certainly had more important enemies in 1978 than a queer experimental filmmaker and visual artist, a fellow member of the counterculture whether she liked it or not, and what’s more, some of the language seems rather homophobic, being that it attributes the film’s fancier bits to “a gay (which you are) boy’s love of dressing up and playing at charades.” Of course, all of that is to say nothing of the sheer impracticality of using a t-shirt to communicate a lengthy essay. But to be fair, it was a time when what punk meant, what it was trying to say and what it wanted, was a fiercely debated topic, especially in the UK and especially among those who would claim the movement as their own, Still, in hindsight, Jubilee seems to not only encapsulate what was in the air in the late 70s, but also punk’s roots and hints of its future.” …Read on.

- Wikipedia Page for the film