Punk Rock In The Movies - "Jubilee" (1977)
tMx is proud to welcome aboard Tyler Durden, our new cub film reporter. Tyler has recently retired from his position as Audley Harrison's personal trainer following a road-to-Damascus type experience at a recent screening of "The Passion Of Christ". Tyler has subsequently renounced mindless violence for profit, embraced the Kabbalah & become a Howard Hughes style recluse (except without the money) dedicated to the subject of Punk Rock In The Movies. Tyler begins his tMx tenure with the 1st part of his evaluation of Derek Jarman's "Jubilee":
Director - Derek Jarman
Genre - Avante-garde/Experimental
Themes - Punk/Royalty/Time travel
Produced by - Cinegate/Libra Films International/Megalovision
Jenny Runacre - Elizabeth I
Jordan - Amyl Nitrate
Nell Campbell - Crabs
Linda Spurrier - Viv
Toyah Wilcox - Mad
Ian Charleson - Angel (Ariel)
Richard O'Brien - Dee
Adam Ant - Kid
Derek Jarman's Jubilee presents a futuristic view of the rebellious fashions of the British punk movement of late 1970's London. It is steeped in a nihilistic philosophy & seen through the eyes of a group of female outcasts who are united in their hatred of convention. Jubilee, if seen today, has never been more relevant in our apocalyptic times. A vision of our future: chaos and disorder have destroyed the system - and its leaders have lost touch with humanity. The police, the church and the authorities are seen as corrupt - and party to violence and sexual depravity.
The youth, remnants of this shattered society, discuss art, literature and music in terms of history and culture. They view difference as no longer antagonistic but celebratory (once the old establishment has been dissolved).
Jubilee's youth mix the past and the present but can ultimately see 'no future'. Looking at the current re-emergence of some of the truly great artists (The Stooges, The MC5, The Dolls) - maybe that lesson has now been learnt. Maybe there is a future after all. Maybe Jarman's statement that there are 'no more heroes' has finally been resolved. The youth of today are now acknowledging the musical 'heroes' of the past once again.
When the young and chubby Toyah (Mad) is seen photographing the suffocation of a young man, it should send shock waves through the youth of today. Why? Because with the advancement of new technology and video mobile phones, there's always the danger that images of personal degradation can now be distributed for profit, fun or humiliation - at the expense of our own human dignity! You only have to look at the recent news stories from Iraq to see the connection.
At one point in Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth I is transported through time by an angel (Ariel) to a future where chaos reigns. If you've read the papers lately, you'll have noticed that our current Queen has been digitally mapped. Was Jarman prophetically showing the blurring of boundaries between reality and fantasy?
Maybe some things shouldn't be repeated too often - for fear of becoming stale and self-serving. With the domination of American junk culture deadening our passion, music, and particularly the attention spans of our youth, isn't it about time we ushered in something positive to ignite a few new ideas. The future is ours - not theirs. Jarman's future has us eating tasteless food and drinking bad water (sound familiar?).
Jarman gives us kids roaming the streets with guns, creating glorious, spontaneous violence - a future youth culture that no longer needs to be force-fed crap to survive. This should ring a few bells with our nation's/media's preoccupation with stars and their vacuous lifestyles. Statistics (as Amyl Nitrate so prophetically proposes) have been substituted for our new reality - and subsequently govern the way we lead our lives.
Adam Ant (Kid) states that he does 'nothing', which the majority of today's younger generation could empathise with. Everybody has forgotten the people who built this place and the kids use it as a playground (as Mad represents).
As Jarman predicts, the true artists have been driven into corners and are unappreciated. The youth only recognise the art of drinking (look at the news). As the media megalomaniac in charge of Buckingham Palace states:
'This is the generation who grew up and forgot to lead their lives'
'I don't create it, I own it'
'The media became their own reality'
'I own the world of flickering shadows'
Maybe without the media - WE don't exist?
Part 2 will appear in tMx 16.
Tyler Durden - tMx 15 - 06/04