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Kevin7 asked in Entertainment & MusicMovies · 8 years ago

what is the 1978 British film Jubilee related to the Punk music movement?

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  • 8 years ago
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    Jubilee is a 1978 cult film directed by Derek Jarman. It stars Jenny Runacre, Ian Charleson, and a host of punk rockers, including Adam Ant and Toyah. The title refers to the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 1977.

    Jubilee (1978), Britain's only decent punk film, still isn't respected at home as much as it should be, and it remains pretty obscure everywhere else. Instead, we had to wait for Trainspotting (1996) to represent some sort of renaissance in "cool" British cinema. Yet, even though it is almost 20 years older, Jubilee makes Trainspotting's self-congratulatory, CD tie-in antics look like a polite Edinburgh garden party.

    Jubilee is the most important British film of the late ’70s. Okay, it faced little competition at the time — just a weak trickle of ill-conceived co-productions, third-rate softcore, and the usual heritage and nostalgia. Next to those, Jubilee, then as now, stands out like a sore thumb. And although it strikes parallels with the earlier A Clockwork Orange, Jubilee is impulsive where that film is measured, raw where it is stylized, and unrestrained where Kubrick is exacting. What's more, in a lethargic and conservative industry that had been defeated by tax and underfunding, Jubilee was the only British film of its time advancing an unabashed social critique.

    Directed by the uncompromising Derek Jarman, Jubilee, however, seems less like Jarman's vision than one of a punk cinema collective: it could have feasibly been made by Paul Morrissey on an Andy Warhol sabbatical (and would have been preferable to The Hound of the Baskervilles, the misfiring British romp he did make, for no apparent reason, the year before). Similarly, the film has echoes of John Waters, Russ Meyer, and, fittingly for Jarman (who designed The Devils), Ken Russell. As such, it is quite a unique experience.

    From the 1950s, rock and pop music had impacted on film in Britain just as it had in the US. By the early 1970s, there was a plethora of British films either devoted to pop bands (Slade in Flame), derived from their work (Tommy), or fictionally charting the muddy waters of pop success (Stardust, That'll Be the Day). It seemed odd, then, that by 1978 no other British film, mainstream or indie, had harnessed the anarchic and unsettling impact of the punk movement in a contemporary setting, despite the fact that punk was by then the most visible and provocative aspect of the British music scene. No doubt it was punk's precisely anti-pop stance that dictated this; nevertheless, the movement's sordid and defiant embrace of all things offensive, nihilistic, and anti-establishment was an area that was ripe for creative exploration, and should have been further mined.

    Jubilee isn't a punk music film, but music permeates it, albeit somewhat inconsequentially. Regardless of that, punk was about attitude more than anything else. The onus of representation of "British punk cinema," then, largely rests on three projects: Jubilee; several feet of the potentially fascinating, abandoned Russ Meyer/Sex Pistols project Who Killed Bambi?; and the Sex Pistols' self-satisfied but disappointing documentary The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle (1979). A few other low-budget films that celebrated punk music to varying degrees followed, from the limply pyrotechnical Breaking Glass (1980) to The Clash's Rude Boy (1980), but, like a lot of British films, these seemed outdated even when they were released.

    Responding to the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977 (it's a shame it didn't come out simultaneously), Jubilee takes customary punk anti-Royalism and anti-establishmentarianism to its extreme. It has a tasteless and dangerous vibrancy that would have been genuinely shocking to bourgeois sensibilities at the time. But there's little chance it would have been seen by the audience it would have offended most. Not until 1986, on its late-night British TV premiere, did it start to upset its targets; by then it was too late.

    As far as the film's narrative can be explained, it follows Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre) as she is transported from the 16th century to observe a bleak, broken-down Britain of the near-future (a landscape that adequately, if conveniently, represents the declining Britain of the 1970s). There she finds Elizabeth II dead (mugged on some waste ground); violence and anarchy reigning on the streets; history being rewritten by subversive revisionists; and Buckingham Palace, now under the control of the blind megalomaniac Borgia Ginz (the unhinged Jack Birkett), serving as a recording studio for punk musicians.

    Source(s): A gang of misfits, with names like Crabs, Chaos, and Amyl Nitrate, teetering on the edge of this unstructured music scene and led by their own topless Monarch, Bod (Jenny Runacre again), take part in gang bangs, casual murder, and all sorts of nasty behaviour. They suffocate a postcoital lad with a polythene sheet for a laugh. They attack a waitress in her own café and cover her in ketchup. They walk around naked and tattoo each other with a carving knife, sealing the wounds with salt. It's all decidedly un-British. The film, however, is both much less and much more than a tale of violent, directionless, deviant misfits: it cannot be contextualised as a "story" with "characters" because it eschews any representation of human qualities in favour of a sexualised mass of violence and anarchy. It is stark, blunt, and looks increasingly unsophisticated in its attempts to shock. Continue reading here..
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