Film (1978). Waley-Malin Production/Megalovision. Written and directed by Derek Jarman. Cast includes Adam Ant, Ian Charleson, Jordan, Little Nell, Richard O'Brien, Orlando, Jenny Runacre and Toyah Willcox. 104 minutes. Colour.
This was the first solo film by Jarman, one of the doyens of gay, experimental and gender-bending cinema in the UK. The film, which displays a strong sense of irony about the glories of England, was made to be released just in time for Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee celebrations. Queen Elizabeth I (Runacre) is given the power to glimpse the future. This is (for us) a Near-Future London which is decayed, punk and anarchic, though retaining a certain youthful energy (most characters being in their early twenties). The forced decadence of the action is more middle-class Chelsea than streetwise, and the film – with all its orgies, its castrations, its shootings and its music arranged by Brian Eno – is theatrical high camp. [PN]
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