Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
United Kingdom, 1978. Whaley-Malin Productions, Megalovision. Screenplay by Derek Jarman. Cinematography by Peter Middleton. Produced by Howard Malin, James Whaley. Music by Brian Eno. Production Design by Mordecai Schreiber. Costume Design by Dave Henderson, Christopher Hobbs. Film Editing by Nick Barnard.
Early Derek Jarman film features a sense of rebellious fun that went missing in his later, more politically heavy-handed work of the eighties. In 16th-century England, Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre) asks her chief alchemist to give her a vision of her nation’s future, and he does, pushing her ahead four hundred years and taking her to a post-apocalyptic England where girl gangs roam and the music industry has taken over the government. Jarman doesn’t allow himself to indulge in capturing the punk scene of the time enough, particularly as he is too interested in tearing apart the British class system (which he ultimately supports), and there are times when the story is too shabbily constructed and even boring. However, it does capture the era well enough to feature some seminal figures of the time including Adam Ant and Jordan, featuring music by Siouxsie and the Banshees and including performances by a post-Rocky Horror Picture Show Nell Campbell and pre-Chariots Of Fire Ian Charleson.
The Criterion Collection: #191