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Jubilee [DVD]
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on 11 January 2002
...'Jubilee' got it's first TV premier in November'85 on Channel 4 back in the days when they use to put a Red triangle in one of the corners of the Screen. Laughable!!
I didn't have a video 17 years ago so I had to sneek down stairs and watch it on my parents TV with the Sound down. Still I can still recall the film years later and being fixated by it.
Even my Film Studies Teacher asked the class whether anyone had watched it and taped it. Radical Days.
In a time of Pretty people and manufactured Films,videos and Muzak; this film dared to shock and boy oh boy did it. The sets,the sex,the clothes,music and the especially the make-up and haircuts. Toyah the pyromaniac with the vivid Red hair and Jordan with her famous twinsets,love of Floris and her asymetrical make-up.
Jenny Runacre's stunning portrayal as Queen Elizabeth I and as the Punk Queen of all she surveys.
Some of the Music is dire but the attention to detail cannot be denied it's almost as if in '77 they had a idea of what fashion would look like in the 80's and 90's. I dare anyone to be that inventive now. The economic and political situation was just perfect; a feeling that Great Britain's best days were behind her; economically stagnant,politically adrift and just two years before Thatcher's brave new world arrived.Oh yes and not forgetting that the Monarch had permitted a few chairs and tables in the street to eat blancmange,jelly and wave the Union Jack.
In an era when people seem to spend most of their precious time on their Mobiles and wondering where the next Ibiza hioliday is coming 'Jubliee' summed up a far and distant country. Slightly done in and worn down. Down but not exactly out.
25 long years later and here we are in 2002.
Will another creative cutting edge Director make a homage with the up and coming.
Kate Winslett in the Jenny Runacre role or maybe Madonna (No maybe not).
Truth is it wouldn't happen we're far too properous to care or dare.
Britain in '02 is different to '77.
The agression wouldn't be genuine and the people too perfect looking. Caste of Hollyoaks I don't think so.
And anyway most of the set disappeared under Docklands re-development and flashy apartments.
The reality is different and any remake would be just pure nostaglia.
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on 10 February 2014
I remember recording this film when it was first shown in the early days of Channel 4. I was really taken by the story and the whole decadent nature of the world Jarman had created. I had never really seen anything as violent and risque as that on tv before and its imagery has always stuck with me. It was weird seeing a very tom boy Toyah in it too and an equally young Adam Ant. Years later the film popped into my head again and a quick Amazon search revealed that it was available on dvd. I bought a copy for myself and another as a present for my girlfriend of the time as we are still in contact and I thought she would like to see it again too.

The film is very dated and the acting is not brilliant in places but that doesn't matter. That is all part of the overall style of the film imo. I loved this film when I was growing up and it was great to see it again. A real nostalgia trip but not necessarily for everyone's taste, hence 4 stars.
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on 28 December 2011
A great film from the punk era. The mayhem, chaos and disrespect is highlighted extremely well. Well worth a watch if only to see some of the stars of today who must be cringing at their appearance in the film. Buy it !!
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on 21 February 2016
strange film
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on 26 February 2018
Now that I note that it is coming out on BluRay I thought I would give it a try on a cheap copy of the Criterion DVD issue.
Contrary to expectations I couldn't help but laugh at some of it; crazy insane but not pointless, although I can understand why most people aren't going to like it.
I summarise as 5-star crazy.
Criterion video quality is usually as good as can be expected from the best source (& this film's visual is only OK but actually appropriate for the film concept), so I'm wondering if the BluRay will really be any improvement. Might buy it to find out, so I guess that's some indication that I liked it.
Incidentally, I note the forthcoming Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972 -1986 (5-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray box set) which contains JUBILEE.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 December 2015
For me, Derek Jarman’s filmography started well with ‘Sebastian’ but declined thereafter, reaching a nadir with ‘Angelic Conversations’ before returning back to form with ‘Caravaggio’. As his second film, ‘Jubilee’ therefore is not, in my opinion, as loveable as ‘Sebastian’, but neither is it that much worse.

It was a clever conceit to conceive of a return to the England of 1977 of Queen Elizabeth I with her astrologer John Dee. Here Ariel shows them “the shadow of this time.” The year 1977 was the silver jubilee of our present queen, and Jarman uses this idea of the first Elizabeth’s return to the future to display a vision of a dystopian England to make his own commentary on life in the 1970s. Violence stalks the streets whilst maypole strings are composed of barbed wire – yet old ladies still play bingo and young people still take off their clothes in launderettes.

The acting and design is often terribly amateur and yet often quite captivating. Adam Ant provides some prettyboy wallpaper and Toyah Willcocks is a punk pyromaniac. The soundtrack is by no means all punk: there are moments of classical music and even a funky disco in the orgy scene (supposedly set in the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral.) And I enjoyed the rock version of ‘Jerusalem’.

Reviewing the film now, more than a generation after it came out, one wonders what all the infernal fuss was about at the time of its release. It is not particularly shocking; has some clever and insightful things to say; and is never boring. But it is not a masterpiece – its faults are all too plain to see and it can seem very amateurish in places.

The only extra on my DVD is the same Jeremy Isaacs interview Jarman gave towards the end of his life that also appears on the ‘Sebastian’ DVD. There are unfortunately – and incomprehensibly – no subtitles on my DVD.
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on 1 July 2001
Derek Jarman's 1977 film Jubilee, said to be the "first official punk film" is one of the most original and disturbing urban dystopias to emerge from that era of British film-making. Setting itself in a version of late 70s London where anarchy reigns and Judge Dredd-style police are as lawless as the gangs on the street, the film never fails to surprise and Punk rock experts can play a game of spot-the-cameo. Whilst all this takes place, there's also the matter of Queen Elizabeth I, brought forward in time by the angel Arial to gain supreme knowledge...
Violent and twisted, Jubille manages, however, to convince that destruction isn't the only aspect of an anarchic society, and questions the meaning meaning of life, love, history and even the violence itself in a world without balance.
The only extra on the disc is a 40 minute BBC Face-to-Face documentary with Derek Jarman, which, although interesting, does not tackle the subject of this film, which is a shame as some background on the film would have been very interesting. Even so, a curio that belongs in many peoples collections.
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on 9 November 2017
Unbearable pretentious mince. They obviously thought they were being terribly meaningful and important...sorry.
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on 31 January 2018
I could only endure an hour of this embarrassing naff punk piffle. Why so many naked emaciated bodies? Everyone apart from carrot-top Toyah looks malnourished. Really dreadful arty tosh.
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on 27 January 2013
The punk era did not last long, but it seemed to have a huge impact on where we are now - which was not only limited to the music scene. This film is amazing, and features a very young Toyah and Adam Ant as "Boy".....
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