Starring: Jenny Runacre, Toyah Wilcox, Little Nell, Richard
O'Brien, Adam Ant, David Haughton, and Jordan
Music by: Brian Eno, Adam and the Ants, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Wayne County
Runtime: 105 minutes
Availibility: Out of Print, yet again.
Jubilee is a very strange film. Oddly enough, after speaking with people
who are Derek Jarman fans, I was surprised to learn that of all his films
this could easily be the most coherent. Because after watching the film I
still have a hard time saying just what it's about, I quote from the back
cover of the video box:
In the year 1578, Queen Elizabeth I asks her court magician, Dr. John
Dee (Richard!!), to give her a
vision of "the shadow of her time" Dee invokes the angel, Ariel,
who transports the Queen and Dee to the England of the future-a post-punk
post-Thatcherian wasteland where civilization has come to a halt. Bands of
teenage punk girls roam the streets. Equally dangerous are the fascistic police. Buckingham Palace is a recording
studio, the center of an entertainment empire controlled by media czar Borgia
Ginz, who owns everything from the C of E to the BBC. The anti-heroes of the
film are led by Elizabeth's mirror image, Bod, the murderous leader of a mad
household that includes Amyl Nitrate, the pyromaniac Mad, the sex-obsessed
actress Crabs (Little Nell) , loving
brothers Sphinx and Angel, the artist Viv and their French ai pair, Chaos.
"One of the most original, bold and exciting features to have come
out of Britain in this decade"- Variety
"Jubilee is 'Rocky Horror' country all right, but it manages to avoid
the pitfalls of making either horror or rock the poles of it's scale of values.
The lost tenderness is what redeems it's catalogue of chaos . . . it makes us
conscious that the struggle is real."- The Listener
Ok- so what's it about? This is the sort of movie that people politely
refer to as "visual" and "stylistic". Don't worry so much
about plot, consistency and relevance of the images on the screen, just watch.
From a fan point of view, it's not so bad. Richard looks rather good in a
beard, although his manner is a bit unsettling, particularly during the speech
about the angel "falling to earth". We also see some familiar faces-
Little Nell as Crabs . . . the scene with the plastic bag is interesting to
say the least, and this is yet another oppurtunity for Nell junkies to see
her topless. Also making an appearance is Toyah Wilcox as Mad, who later went
on to play in another project of Richard's, The Ink Thief as "dog".
I'm very happy to say that I am not the only person who did not understand
"I have to say I never quite understood Jubilee. I bumped into Derek
Jarman after we'd finished shooting and told him as much. He said, "We're
having a screening--come along, all will become clear." So I went and,
of course, it still didn't make any sense."
- Richard O'Brien