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 channelled 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 Wilcox, 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 Ahead of its time and often frighteningly accurate in its predictions, it is a fascinating historical document and a gorgeous work of film art.
Jenny Runacre plays 16th-century British monarch Elizabeth I in Jubilee. Through a time warp, Elizabeth is whisked to the London “punk” scene of the 1970s. An automatic misfit by virtue of her archaic costuming and speech patterns, Elizabeth is adopted by a group of “cast-off” modern women who’ve formed a little clique of their own. She is introduced to the aural, visual and sensual pleasures of modern London, and after a while she isn’t so keen on returning to her own time. The quirkiness of Jubilee is underlined by the presence in the cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show vets Little Nell (as a character named “Crabs”) and Richard O’Brien. Also heard and seen is rocker Adam Ant, who turns in one of the film’s more polished performances. Jubilee began life as one of director Derek Jarman’s experimental 16-millimeter cinematic collages.