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Filmwerk: Jubilee – Blu-ray Review

June 26th, 2018

jubilee18mIt’s hard to believe that Punk is well over 40 years old, largely heralded by the release of the Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy in the UK’, in the Britain at any rate. Punk meant different thing to different people: to the Sex Pistols and The Clash it was a working-class reaction or counter-reaction, to Malcolm McLaren it was a marketing ploy and to the likes of Vivienne Westwood it was a fashion statement. For art film director Derek Jarman it became an anarchic artistic statement.

Of course Jarman himself was not a punk, but he certainly tapped into the spirit of the age and was even able to insert his own brand of camp into the punk scene with his film Jubilee (1978). The BFI release of Jubilee is released in addition to the BFI’s recent 6 film box-set release, ‘Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972 – 1986’ to observe the films 40 year anniversary.

The narrative of the film is sometimes hard to follow, but makes more statements than having any narrative or even making much in the way of sense. It opens with Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre) being transported to 1970s London by her occultish aide, Dr. John Dee (Richard O’Brien) and find a place riven with political and social unrest. We are then introduced to some of the key figures in the film: punk girls Mad (Toyah Willcox) and Amyl-Nitrate (Jordan), along with Kid (Adam Ant, real name Stuart Goddard), Crabs (Nell Campbell), Chaos (Hermine Demoriane) and Bod (Runacre again in a dual role). They get up to all sorts in the flat and include killing a one-night stand in a asphyxiation game. All sorts of adventures take place including starting a punk band called Scum while revolt and social unrest, including police brutality increases.

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