Punk Classic? : A Second Look at Jubilee (1978)

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

image with a quote from the film Jubilee from 1978


"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." - The Criterion Collection


Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Released: February 1978

Directed by: Derek Jarman

Written by: Derek Jarman

Starring: Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell (as Little Nell), Toyah Willcox, and Jordan

It is very easy to think of Jubilee as a more female-focused and dramatic version of A Clockwork Orange, as it takes place in a world of chaos and senseless violence that comes very close to mirroring the world you see in the film mentioned above.

The parts with Queen Elizabeth I felt out of place, and I believe that if you cut out all of those parts, the only thing you miss out on is David Brandon's performance as Ariel. It is almost as if the film had no plot, so the Queen scenes were added last minute to form some concrete reason for its existence. The acting is mostly good, but with a dramatic flair that comes close to just being cringeworthy. It is the kind of acting you expect from a stage play, not a movie. The characters are all interesting and have a mad hatter/hare quality about them.

This film has absolutely fantastic monologues in it. I admit that some of the moments are a bit pre-edgelord-emo-kid from the 2000s, but they were what I enjoyed the most about Jubilee. Overall, the film comes off as very artsy political/social satire wrapped in a punk package.

I originally watched and reviewed this movie on August 13th, 2016. While cleaning up old posts, I had a fond memory of this one, and since my original review was so short, I decided to rewatch and see if I still felt the same. Aspects of the original review are still there, but I have expanded on a few things. My original rating was 7/10, and upon a second viewing, I dropped it down.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 6.5/10

Should you watch it?

🤔 Do you like punk fashion and music? Do you like film history/cult films? If you answered yes, then I definitely recommend it. 

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