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Jubilee - Criterion Collection
Jubilee - Criterion Collection
Actors: Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell, Toyah Willcox, Jordan, Hermine Demoriane
Director: Derek Jarman
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2003     1hr 40min

When Queen Elizabeth I asks her court alchemist to show her England in the future, she?s transported 400 years to a post-apocalyptic wasteland of roving girl gangs, an all-powerful media mogul, fascistic police, scattered ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell, Toyah Willcox, Jordan, Hermine Demoriane
Director: Derek Jarman
Creators: Peter Middleton, Derek Jarman, Nick Barnard, Howard Malin, James Whaley
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/27/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Anarchy & Beauty
J. Clark | metro New York City | 06/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Jubilee is a wildly beautiful - and entertaining - film which strikes a precarious, and compelling, balance between sheer anarchy and genuine beauty. I was so struck by it that I watched it three times in one week. Yet it remains an elusive work, constantly tantalizing with new connections and still more layers of meaning. The outstanding Criterion Collection DVD offers a wealth of supplemental features, making it an excellent introduction to both the film and director Derek Jarman.The basic plot of this experimental fantasy is simple: Queen Elizabeth I has the historical alchemist John Dee summon the spirit Ariel and transport all of them 400 years into the future, where they find London a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The talented Jenny Runacre plays both Queen Elizabeth and the anarchic latter-day "queen" Bod, who leads an all-female biker gang.Made in 1977, at the height of the Punk movement, Jubilee has misleadingly been called a "Punk movie." Despite its trappings (from clothing to casting several well-known singers), ultimately it seems more about Punk than of it. How Jarman uses then-rising star Adam Ant is revealing. With his sweetly boyish persona - made just a bit wild by the black leather and painted-on lower sideburns - Adam Ant as "Kid" is undeniably appealing. But throughout he is as passive offstage as he is frenzied onstage. And Kid, unable to connect with anyone, will do anything for his career. He signs with the grotesque Borgia Ginz, the multinational mogul who controls the entire planet's media - hence political, even religious - power structure. Ginz immediately rechristens Kid as "Scum. That's commercial. It's all [the audience] deserves." One of the film's most haunting images is of Kid lasciviously kissing his own image on a TV. How's that for a postmodern twist on the myth of Narcissus?Beyond the Punk movement, Jarman turned to many diverse sources to flesh out his vision for Jubilee. It's powerful on its own terms, without any need for "footnoting," but the wide-ranging references create a fascinating texture. He uses film (notably Cocteau's Blood of a Poet, Godard's La Chinoise, Pasolini's Oedipus Rex, and Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange), literature (Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's 1984; also his pastiche Elizabethan dialogue is beautiful: "I cast for Ariel, pearl of fire, my only star...."), history and myth (suggested by character names, from the historical female ruler of ancient Britain, Bodicea - i.e., "Bod" - and the Borgias to mythical figures like Sphinx and Angel), and even dance club culture (characters named Amyl Nitrate and Crabs). He is also one of the most creatively playful of modern filmmakers, and that schoolboyish "let's put on a show" energy keeps his films, even with their density of themes, buoyant and wonderfully entertaining.Jarman also brings great emotional resonance through his characters (most of whom he cast from friends and lovers). I was often surprised by how much I cared about these eccentric, and sometimes lethal, allegorical people. Although each viewer will bond with different characters, I was most moved by the "triangle" between the two teasingly incestuous brothers, Sphinx and Angel (who utters the classic line, "I didn't know I was dead till I was 15"), and the artist Viv (whom Jarman described, affectionately, as a "butch dyke"). Their tangled connections, although genuinely caring, never reach true equality: The two men, on one level, can be seen as using the woman as a way of enhancing their own (masculine, even incestuous) relationship. Still, they become all the more affecting at the film's climax (which I will not divulge).There is so much more to Jubilee than I can suggest in the brief space here: It is visually gorgeous (Jarman is a master of composition and lighting; he began as a painter, and stage and film designer), makes fascinating use of music (from Punk to classical) and sound effects, offers a provocative series of ideas about history (as Amyl says, "History still fascinates me. It's so intangible. You can weave facts anywhere you like. Good guys can swap places with bad guys"), media manipulation and artistic narcissism and audience passivity, and, ultimately, the duality of beauty and anarchy, which are perhaps two sides of the same double mirror."
An essential for any early punk fans
J. Clark | 06/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a highly unusual and artisticly revealing cinematic pleasure. If anyone has seen director Derek Jarman's films before, you probably know that he doesn't follow the conventions of film narrative. For punk fans it offers a view of the wasteland fantasy world that isn't too far off from the truth. Early glimpses of Adam Ant(the soon to be Mtv poster boy looking very young), Little Nell (Rocky Horror Picture Show), and Ian Charleson (Chariots of Fire). For any fan of the Sex Pistols' movie, "THe Great ROck and ROll Swindle"- this movie is perfect for you. IT contains lots of nudity- both male and female and has alot of questionable acts of violence. Not recommended for everyone- but definitely a rare treat."
Sex, Drugs and Punk Rock!
Ryan | Greenport, New York United States | 12/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Criterion Spine Number: 191

Derek Jarman's twisted psuedo-Rocky Horror is just the perfect treat for any fan of really twisted films.

Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre who also plays the character of Bod) wants to see into the future. With the aid of her court and the angel Ariel, she is transported 4 centuries into the future to get a gander of current life. What she sees is nothing less than shocking. Total anarchy: Buckingham Palace is a recording studio owned by insane media master Borgia Ginz (Orlando), the Church is a sex hall, police only help themselves and what you can grab, is yours.

The main focous of the movie, however is a group of five young women: the sexy and always turned on Crabs (Little Nell), the "schoolteacher" with a nack for singing "Rule Brittania" in punk fashon named Amyl Nitrate (Jordan), the pyromaniac fire bug Mad (Toyah Willcox), the sweet and romantic Chaos (Hermine Demoriane) and finally the Queen in her own little world: Bod (Jenny's second role in the film).

There is also some early music by: Adam Ant, Brian Eno, Wayne County and many others. The music fits the film perfectly and is quite fun all around.

Now, onto the DVD:

The image quality is great. Probably not the best dvd picture I've ever seen but none the less, it's wonderful. It's presented in it's original aspect ratio of 1.66 and is enhanced for widescreen TVs.

The films original audio track is quite good as well. It's a Dolby Digital Mono track and surprisingly, there's no problems with it (I sometimes have problems with 1.0 tracks but not this time)

The special features are a bushell of fun: First there is the documentary which runs nearly 40 minutes and has a lot of information of the director and film. Toyah Willcox even shows up for an interview along with Jenny Runacre). We are also offered script pages with a series of notes. Continuity stills, sketches, the original (and almost as twisted as the movie) theatrical trailer, production pictures and finally, Jordan's complete dance (longer take than what is in the movie) which is quite interesting.

Jubilee is not a film for everyone or casual viewers of odd movies. Unless you really like twisted movies, then just rent it. But if you are ready for some odd, odd, odd fun...enjoy Jubilee."
"This is the generation that grew up and forgot to lead thei
Ruadhan J McElroy | Ann Arbor, MI | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Derek Jarman didn't set out to make a "punk film", he set out to make "a film about punk", and many people don't like his interpretations. As a disaffected ex-punk, I found his interpretations poignant and honest, to the point where I could see how it would enrage people. People, especially posh kids playing at being lower-class for a time, don't generally like brutal honesty.

One of Jarman's working titles for this film was _High Fashion: An Anarchic Comedy about Sex & Violence_, and while the subject matter and plot are disturbingly nihilistic and there's this intense overtone of depressiveness amongst the primary characters, the comical elements are rather apparent, though probably too dry or deadpan for some people on either side of the pond. Jarman also uses humour to make some clear points about youth's relationship with history and tradition, nationalism, homophobia, the modern state of the monarchy, and other socially relevant concepts that are still important today, no matter how much some people insist otherwise.

The Criterion DVD also contains many special features, including a cinematic trailer and scans and transcriptions from Derek Jarman's _Jubilee_ scrapbook, a documentary with interviews of people who were in the cast and crew, and loads and loads of promotional stills. The highlight of the "scrapbook" portion of the features, in my opinion, is the photo of Jarman wearing Vivienne Westwood's infamous, incredibly incoherent, and nauseatingly homophobic "Open Lettre (T-Shirt) to Derek Jarman", followed by a transcription of the text of the t-shirt -- this will single-handedly destroy any misconceptions one may have of the public face of "punk" ever being progressive or at least open-minded."