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Jubilee (The Criterion Collection) (1979)

Jenny Runacre , Nell Campbell , Derek Jarman  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell, Toyah Willcox, Jordan, Hermine Demoriane
  • Directors: Derek Jarman
  • Writers: Derek Jarman
  • Producers: Howard Malin, James Whaley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2003
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008RH14
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,526 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jubilee (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Peter Middleton
  • Original documentary on Jarman and Jubiliee made by Jarman actor Spencer Leigh
  • Ephemera from Derek Jarman's personal collection
  • Liner notes by Jarman biographer Tony Peak and cultural historian Jon Savage

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 filth, and twisted sex. With Jubilee, legendary British filmmaker Derek Jarman channeled political dissent and artistic daring into a revolutionary blend of history and fantasy, musical and cinematic experimentation, satire and anger, fashion and philosophy. With its uninhibited punk petulance and sloganeering, Jubilee, brings together many cultural and musical icons of the time, including Jordan, Toyah Willcox, Little Nell, Wayne County, Adam Ant, and Brian Eno (with his first original film score), to create a genuinely unique, unforgettable vision. Ahead of its time and often frighteningly accurate in its predictions, it is a fascinating historical document and a gorgeous work of film art.

Avant-garde spirit and punk-rock attitude combine with iconoclastic results in Derek Jarman's defiantly uncommercial Jubilee. Filmed in 1977--the silver jubilee year of England's Queen Elizabeth II--this fascinating hodgepodge of political dissent and audiovisual experimentation now stands as a vibrant document of its time, both immediate and enduring in its bold rejection of all things conventional. (Compared to this, the quasi-punk Repo Man and angst-ridden Sid & Nancy seem positively tame.) Jarman's film deserved its mixed reviews; like the films of Andy Warhol, it's a slapdash affair, cobbled together by Jarman and his fringe-dwelling friends, ostensibly designed as a kaleidoscopic glimpse of London's future, infused with apocalyptic nihilism and populated by proto-punks (including Adam Ant and Rocky Horror's Little Nell) in an anarchic orgy of gay and straight sex, music, violence, and (in retrospect) astonishingly accurate pop-cultural prophesy. It's the pioneering, angry/funny work of a genuine artist, as essential to punk film as the Sex Pistols were to music in the dreadful days of disco. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anarchy & Beauty June 23, 2003
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential for any early punk fans June 3, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs and Punk Rock! December 25, 2004
By Ryan
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite of mine, for a very select audience
A personal favorite movie and music, certainly not for everyone. If you aren't into avant-garde movies or early English punk, probably a fail for you. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Wright
3.0 out of 5 stars makes me ashamed of myself
The politics of this movie is so much like the kind of things I say that I truly don't want to send it up or down where anyone might think it belongs because it might be like... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bruce P. Barten
5.0 out of 5 stars So angry
Dark and daring. An amazing film that should be cherished. This film helped me understand English subculture in ways that the music it produced never did. Read more
Published on December 12, 2011 by dalisurreal
4.0 out of 5 stars punk-politics-art
Derek Jarman's second feature film, and possibly his best-known work, is a hymn to the British punk movement, a riot of color and music and chaos with very little in the way of... Read more
Published on September 4, 2010 by Muzzlehatch
3.0 out of 5 stars Good only for the music and scenes of London, but nothing else
The dialogue is over-the-top pretentious and the acting is not even good enough to be considered second-rate, but the music and setting make this a film worth watching. Read more
Published on October 27, 2009 by Paul Metzger
5.0 out of 5 stars Late 70s Art Film
I had been warned how really rotten this film was by other Adam Ant fans; however, I tried to watch this film fairly and judge it for myself and found out that I loved it! Read more
Published on October 9, 2009 by Valerie Paty
3.0 out of 5 stars punk Ficton
Not quit what I was expecting but interesting all the same. acting was a little amateur and story jumped around a bit. Didn't get the point of the movie. Would suit cult punk fans
Published on January 7, 2009 by P. R. Davy
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not a punk film; it is a Derek Jarman film...
This is a wonderful film, and it's also greatly misunderstood. It came out in 1978 at the height of the punk movement in England, and it was labeled as a "punk" film. Read more
Published on March 14, 2007 by Grigory's Girl
2.0 out of 5 stars Punk quality
I saw this film (what I could stand) because I was curious about Toyah Willcox as an actor. I had to go to the end credits to find out which character she was. Read more
Published on September 18, 2005 by Eolake
2.0 out of 5 stars If punk rockers ruled the world...
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

"Jubilee" released in 1977 during Queen Elizabeth II's silver Jubilee year, certainly would not be... Read more
Published on November 25, 2004 by Ted
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