Tag Archives: fine art

Proof Of Cinema

“For at least two years I have felt ready to make some theoretical statements about film language in relation to the ‘Underground’ film.  A problem which has held me up is the discrepancy I feel between the actual experience I get from film making and viewing – the erraticness, impulsiveness and irrationality – and the linear logic that emerges from writing about it.  The clarity of a verbal statement creates a misleading feeling of having understood or stablished a set of experiences or phenomena, and one is tempted to let it substitute for the less conveniently comprehended physicality of image-experience.”

-Malcolm LeGrice, 1972

Malcolm LeGrice's Berlin Horse (1970)

Malcolm LeGrice’s Berlin Horse (1970)

an introduction to a set of circumstances

Writing about the cinema in the last couple of years has become increasingly difficult.  When I first began writing about films in a pseudo-professional capacity for CIP late in 2011 the cinema seemed to be a succinct and easily definable medium.  In part this was due to the assignments I had been receiving (usually a retrospective analysis of a “classic” French film), but also the fact that when I had begun writing about the cinema I had just graduated from college.  It was in college, particularly in classes dealing with film history, that the cinema was presented as a broad yet recognizable category of Fine Art that contained within it a series of easily categorizable elements, labels, and genres.  This limited view of the cinema was the gospel, reiterated time and again as a dirge of propaganda.

A year after college and six months into working for CIP some real perspective began to accumulate.  As I continued to make film after film it became increasingly evident that there is a fluidity to the cinema.  One cannot make a film that is exclusively one way or another, nor can one limit one’s self to a singular reading of a film.  Every film is unique in its way; a link in the chain of the career of its author, be it the director, producer, writer or cinematographer.  What’s problematic is that after such a realization that fundamentally redefines one’s notions of the cinema, this realization has a rippling effect.  As one trains one’s mind to interpret and invent the cinema, one begins to find the cinema in places where one was instructed it simply did not exist when one was in college.  Of course I am referring to web-series, American Television,  pop-up installations, fan made photo montages of celebrities on YouTube, etc.  Just as technology permeates every aspect of human existence, so the cinema permeates every aspect of technological existence.  In the last five years the fluidity of the cinema, which struck me as so profound several years ago, has doubled.  The adaptability of the cinema, along with its accessibility, appears to be an expansive force, a global tidal wave crashing over human culture in a rhythm, successive yet sustained.

Michael Snow at the Jack Shainman Gallery in 2013.

Michael Snow at the Jack Shainman Gallery in 2013.

parameters for an argument

In a media environment where labels are quickly becoming void of their original meaning a discussion of cinematic principles is becoming increasingly difficult.  Almost out of necessity I’m tempted to ground the evolution of the cinema of the past fifty years in the context of one filmmaker’s career or another.  Michael Snow would be, in my opinion, the best candidate for such a discussion if I were to go that route.  Never as popular as he deserves to be, Michael Snow’s career charts, almost too perfectly, the modes of cinematic production and its evolution from the “Underground” films of the seventies to the multi-media and video installations of today.  Snow’s voice and aesthetic interests have remained consistent, propelled into new technologies only by Snow’s sincere desire to create.

But to lead such a discussion with Michael Snow as its center piece would only be beneficial to those who have already immersed themselves in a cinema where narrative and the possibility for escapism are not requirements of the cinematographic langue.  To most audiences the requirements of the cinema demand a fabricated reality, a fiction indebted to the conventions of literature.  So the discussion must include filmmakers who have sought to dearrange these popular principles of cinematic convention but who have also, even if only on a theoretical basis, pushed the cinema into uncharted avenues.

The best candidate to open this discussion, who is coincidently one of Michael Snow’s earliest champions, is Jean-Marie Straub.  Born to the same generation as Jacques Rivette and Jean-Luc Godard, Straub’s career goes back to the fifties when he first began collaborating with his wife Danièle Huillet (1936-2006).  Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub’s films, in a physical sense, are dominated by long static compositions with a minimalist approach to blocking and set design.  Their films represent a distillation of the cinema to its primal elements.  What makes this duo relevant is their consistency in their aesthetic approach that maintained their position as a truly unique force in world cinema for over forty years.

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub's Sicilia! (1999)

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub’s Sicilia! (1999)

“this is really a film for children”-Danièle Huillet

It’s important to any analysis of European Cinema, especially German cinema, to bear in mind the tremendous influence Walter Benjamin had on the filmmakers who would originate the French and German New Waves of the sixties.  Despite their birthplaces, Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub have a distinctly German voice to their cinematic expressions; Straub himself was a mentor to Rainer Werner Fassbinder after all.  But in the interest of space and time, it would, perhaps, be helpful to turn to critic/filmmaker Alexander Kluge for an astute summation of the aesthetic principles that he, as well as Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, aspired to.

“A very easy method would be for the audience to stick to the individual shots, to whatever they happen to be seeing at any given moment.  They must watch closely.  Then they can happily forget, because their imagination does all the rest.  Only someone who doesn’t relax, who is all tensed up, who searches for a leitmotif, or is always finding links with the ‘cultural heritage’, will have difficulties.  He’s not watching closely anymore.  What he sees is semi-abstract and not concrete.  It would be a help if he quietly recites to himself what he hears and sees.  If he does that it won’t be long before he notices the sense of the succession of shots.  That way he’ll learn how to deal with himself and his own impressions.”  (Film Comment, Vol. 10, no. 6, 1974)

What Kluge proposes Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub realized in their films.  As I stated earlier, the physical attributes of their work correspond to Kluge’s proposed distillation of cinematic expression.  If one examines one of their later works, Sicilia! (1999), one is struck by how little the film explains with regards to the underlying narrative purpose of the film.  The scenes simply “exist”, and it is in their chronological alignment that meaning can be found.  As with Kluge, this meaning must be manufactured by the audience.  Wrongfully, this approach to narrative cinema is typically referred to as “too intelligent” primarily because a film such as Sicilia! depends so much upon the participation of its audience.

This cinematic model of distillation is similarly at work in Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa Vie (1962).  However, Godard minimizes the involvement of his audience by inserting title cards between each of the scenes or vignettes in Vivre sa Vie.  These title cards, like the chapters in a novel, explain to a minimal degree what it is that the audience is about to see happen, thus allowing the audience to concentrate its attention on the more superficial elements of the film.  Without these title cards Vivre sa Vie would have the effect of Sicillia! or Moses & Aron (1975).  Even more commercial filmmakers, like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, adopted the Kluge/Straub/Huillet approach only to minimize audience participation in different ways.  Fassbinder’s Beware Of A Holy Whore (1971) relieves the audience of some responsibility through the direction of its actors and its fluid cinematography.  The effect of this is Brechtian, thus recognizable and easily contextualized.

This approach to the cinematographic langue is not, by any means, an effort restricted to the generation of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub.  Their influence strongly colored Chantal Akerman’s early narrative efforts Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) and Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978).  Likewise, Hal Hartley makes use of this aesthetic approach significantly, and rather subtly, in his film Henry Fool (1998).  It is at the core of this aesthetic that the audience must, to a degree, join the filmmaker in authoring the film itself.  In contrary to the belief that such a mode of cinematic expression is “too intelligent”, these films, and this style in particular, remain one of the most accessible of the cinema.  So much so that Danièle Huillet, in the first issue of the British film magazine Enthusiasm, once observed that her film with Jean-Marie Straub, Not Reconciled (1965) was “really a film for children”.

Jean-Luc Godard's film Passion (1982)

Jean-Luc Godard’s film Passion (1982)

“all art may be seen as a mode of proof”-Susan Sontag

In the Summer/Autumn issue of Moviegoer published in 1964, Susan Sontag outlined the aesthetic impact of Godard’s Vivre sa Vie.  It’s safe to say that at this point America was unaware of Alexander Kluge, Danièle Huillet, and Jean-Marie Straub.  Regardless, Sontag pinpoints their desired cinematic intent and puts it very succinctly when she terms it “proof”; a cinema of proof.  By contrast, all other commercial cinema not conforming to the aesthetics proposed by Kluge and Sontag belong to the cinema of analysis (“analysis” is the word Sontag chose as the opposite of “proof” in her article).

A cinema of proof today seems almost impossible.  Consider the period critics refer to as the Second French New Wave (1978-1984).  Filmmakers Alain Resnais, Eric Rohmer and Jean-Luc Godard are finding renewed commercial success with their films, films that have remained as provocative and innovative as Breathless (1960) was many years before.  Godard, the most internationally marketable filmmaker of the three, found his success short-lived in the market of the “blockbuster spectacle” when he released Passion (1982).  Passion, despite its self, remains one of the finest examples of what we have in this essay been terming the cinema of proof.  It’s a film that employs the tactics of Straub and Huillet with the wit to dissociate the audience from the would-be protagonist (played by Hanna Schygulla) and re-associate them with the director (played by Jerzy Radziwilowicz) by means of a shared experience (audience contribution equated with traditional film authorship).  In this way Godard’s Passion succeeds where Michelangelo Antonioni’s Identification of A Woman (1982) stumbles.  Still, neither film found any success beyond the critics and champions of these filmmakers.

Consider now that a cultural environment existed in the sixties and seventies that allowed a cinema of proof to flourish, and compare those conditions with the needs audiences tax upon their different forms of media today.  A cinema of proof would be impossible.  If the sixties were Godard’s golden period (in terms of success) then the 2010s would be the age for Luc Moullet’s drastic reappraisal.

Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers (2009)

Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers (2009)

“illness always has a few beneficial side effects”-Gilles Taurand

From the perspective of 2015 the idea of a cinema of proof seems an almost Romantic notion.  I’ve read that Jean-Marie Straub considered his films (and thusly those films that follow the same aesthetic guidelines) to be “eternal” in both their simplicity and accessibility.  His notions, however, are dependant on an audience willing to invest what Kluge fondly referred to as their “imagination” into the film viewing process.  In 2015 technology along with the speed of daily life prohibits that kind of investment, relegating this would-be utopian cinema to a kind of touchstone by which to asses the success of other films in incorporating the audience into an intellectual dialogue.

Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers (2009) utilizes Straub’s aesthetic in literal terms but its sheer gross-out spectacle leaves little room for the imagination.  Similarly, the films of Andrea Arnold come close to this but always back off to safer narrative convention in the third act, as if the climax of her films would be too difficult for audiences otherwise.  The distillation championed by Straub could still find renewal in a form of new technology, in which case an entire reassessment of aesthetic models would be mandatory in order to better calibrate the juxtaposition between manufactured image and spectator.  What Straub gives us today is a kind of looking-glass through which cinema may be measured and accounted for in certain areas.

-Robert Curry

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under international films

New Cinematic Languages

Recently I watched two films back to back that seemingly have very little in common.  Upon a superficial examination these two films appear to only contrast one another.  The first was made in the seventies as a reactionary portrait of the United States during the social unrest of the early seventies, executed with the kind of “underground film” aesthetic that could only be easily described as a Paul Morrissey film assembled by Stan Brakhage.  The second film is French, and makes every effort to employ the surrealist film tactics of Jean Vigo, Jean Cocteau and Jean Epstein to deconstruct the novelistic conventions typical in narrative film of the fifties, epitomizing the lettrist movement.  Despite these contextual and aesthetic dissimilarities, these two films both achieve a dissociative examination of the cinematographic langue, deconstructing the modes by which the audience reads an image in film by filling the frame with smaller frames, whose relativity to one another is neither circumstantial nor contextual and predicated by the accompanying soundtrack or entirely invented by the audience as an attempt to link these images via a coherent association (compositionally, aesthetically, or simply via content).

nickrayoneditingmachine

The first film I have alluded to is Nicolas Ray’s We Can’t Go Home Again (1971).  Produced as an extravagant student film based around Ray’s literal proposition that filmmaking by nature is a communal act, a proposition carried well  beyond the production of the film and into the personal lives of the students who contributed to it.  Therefore, though the film is not singularly the result of Ray’s authorship, it will be treated as such in this essay for simplicity’s sake, though it cannot be argued that Ray himself was not the principle guiding force behind the film.

Regardless of the legitimate authorship of We Can’t Go Home Again, it’s true significance resides in the film’s technical approach to montage.  As the film appeared at its premiere at Cannes in 1971 the film ran 87 minutes.  During those 87 minutes the film fills the primary frame, with an aspect ratio of 16:9, with a series of smaller frames which function as units within a larger composition (that of which I have referred to as the primary frame).  These units are composed of various narratives shot on a variety of film stocks and are arranged in a seemingly random fashion, devoid of any compositional or contextual unification.  The dissimilarities in the narrative content of these units prevents a unifying narrative from directing the audience’s understanding of the images, subverting their expectations and assumptions, forcing the audience instead to interpret the film as it appears as a whole in the primary frame and as an anthropological recording of a single year in the history of the United States.  The thematic connection is a presumptive one then.  One can assume that the socio-political upheaval of the early seventies recorded in We Can’t Go Home Again is reflected in the deconstructive approach of aligning dissociative units within a single primary frame.  Therefore in form and content We Can’t Go Home Again is able to epitomize the anti thesis to the formal understanding of the cinematographic langue.  By negating it’s direct employment in the film’s montage yet attaining it’s essential effects by another means suggests, on behalf of Ray and his students, that other cinematic languages must be invented to articulate new directions in socio-political growth on a nationalist level predicated by advents in technological achievement pertaining to the medium itself.

closed-vision1

The second film is Marc O.’s Closed Vision (1954), whose importance here is strictly that it alludes to the modes by which We Can’t Go Home Again would be able to subvert the critical assumptions of the cinematographic langue.  Closed Vision itself is a far cry from We Can’t Go Home Again, and presents itself as a muddled compilation of aesthetic approaches to film.  Firstly, a series of title cards make reference to the endorsement of the film by the surrealist Jean Cocteau, which isn’t surprising when one takes into account Marc O.’s allegiance to the lettrist movement.  Following Cocteau’s endorsement, more title cards follow that inform the audience of two intentions of the film.  Firstly, that the film may aid in the development of human psychological studies, the second that the film is a co-production between the French and the Americans.  The intention of these title cards is to legitimize the film and to provide an intellectual justification for the film.  However, each card manages to contradict the last, confusing the context of the film and its relation to its audience.  Likewise, a majority of the body of the film contains the lyrical stream of consciousness narrative similar to that which defined the films of the early surrealists and Dadaists, though in this instance Marc O. contrasts his loose narrative with a disjointed soundtrack whose primary purpose is to manufacture the illusion that Closed Vision does indeed simulate the effects of actual stream of consciousness.

The important portion of Closed Vision to my argument occurs early on, and lasts only briefly, and is stylistically quite different from the bulk of the film.  The contents of this section are precise and more highly articulate, despite the fact that the section appears utilizing the same basic unit structure of We Can’t Go Home Again.  The difference is that Marc O.’s film negates a direct confrontation with the cinematographic langue by restricting the content of his units to still images on a much larger collage (a concept adapted by the filmmaker from the Rythmus films of Hans Richter and the formal experiments of Marcel Duchamp in the twenties).  This collage (composed of roughly cut out images from different magazines) appears in wide shot, revealing all of it’s many pictures as individual units.  Then, Marc O. moves his camera in on single sections of the bigger collage, emphasizing single units.  Thus, Marc O.’s film provides a sort of blueprint for the mechanisms with which Ray would conduct his own deconstruction of cinematic linguistics.

The most striking element that links these two films is that any similarity is entirely unintentional.  It is unlikely Nicolas Ray ever encountered Marc O.’s film, as it is just as unlikely that Marc O. ever intended to suggest the cinematic possibilities of We Can’t Go Home Again.  What’s strange is that Ray’s effective call for a new cinematic language never found a more mainstream expression and only regressed back into the cinematic avant-garde.  In fact, the kind of cinematic expression that defines We Can’t Go Home Again and makes it such a singular viewing experience can be found more readily today in video art and installations.

dieter_roth_aarau_pano_RED

Consider Dieter Roth’s Solo Screens installation of 1997.  Roth replaces Ray’s primary frame reference point with an equally fixed and alternately flexible perspective, space.  However, while within a space, a spectator can navigate freely.  This freedom of movement simulates, to varying degrees, those instances when only a single unit appears in the primary frame during Ray’s film.  But unlike Ray, Roth’s units are more clearly defined, manifested as a series of televisions in an aluminum showcase.  It is in this way that Roth removes the role Ray played in the production of his film as primary director and editor, replacing those roles and the necessity for such roles by dissecting the cinematographic langue all together, allowing the spectator to dictate the content of his or her own subjective primary frame.  Similar effects have been achieved in other video installations, thus grounding the new cinematic language outside of conventional filmmaking as it is popularly thought of and grounding it in the vernacular of gallery art.  Some other primary instances are Elija-Liisa Ahtila’s Consolation Service (1999) and Darren Almond’s Traction (1999).  This singular evolution is therefore clearly indicative of the growth of cinematic language, as it has always been suggested by the avant-garde, has been growing beyond the theoretical confines of the standardized tools and mechanisms of both formal and traditional movie making and the modes of its spectatorship.

-Robert Curry

Leave a comment

Filed under international films

Jubilee

Jubilee (1978) was Derek Jarman’s much anticipated follow-up to Sebastiane (1976), and like Sebastiane, Jubilee was shot on a low-grade color film stock with shots composed to evoke the classic paintings of the Renaissance and the portraits of the Dutch Masters.  But Jubilee, a natural progression in visual style, is a much more explicitly political film than Sebastiane, not only satirizing post modern interpretations of the necessity of art, but also political institutions such as the London Police Force, media moguls, and Fascism.  With the “punk” movement in full swing across Britain, Jarman sets about scrutinizing contemporary London from the vantage point of Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre), the representative of all the traditional English values and morals.

The plot, episodic in nature, begins with Queen Elizabeth I summoning the angel Ariel, with the aid of her occultist John Dee (played by Rocky Horror Show writer Richard O’Brien), to see into Britain’s future.   In the future, the film follows the exploits and interactions of Bod (Jenny Runacre), Crabs (Nell Campbell), Mad (Toyah Wilcox), Amyl Nitrite (Jordan), Chaos (Hermine Demoriane), Angel (Ian Charleson), Sphinx (Karl Johnson), and Kid (Adam Ant).  This cast of characters epitomizes Britain’s “punk” generation, from their need for destructive rebellion to their Warhol-like ambitions for super stardom.  The character who exercises the most power in this nightmare is media mogul Borgia Ginz (Jack Birkett), whose very name is a “punkish” pun.

Presumably, the “future” action of Jubilee is a comic prediction on how things will turn out unabated; the end of “merry” England.  The “future” action seems to take place only a few years in the future from the start of the film’s production in 1977.  In this hostile environment of murderous policemen and punk rockers, Jarman manages to photograph London to look like Hiroshima after the bomb, a decaying landscape of urban development and decay.  Aesthetically, Jarman is setting the stage for his greatest cinematic achievement, The Last Of England (1986), that will consist exclusively of such visuals, employed again to juxtapose the contemporary Britain of Thatcher with the “England Of Old”.

The conflict of the past versus the present is one of the mainstays of British counterculture as well as the “punk” movement.  Jubilee epitomizes “punk” in film, and became the blueprint for a dozen like-minded films such as Jack Hazan and David Mingay’s pseudo-documentary on The Clash, Rude Boy (1980), and Ulli Lommel’s films with Andy Warhol Cocaine Cowboys (1979) and The Blank Generation (1980).  Episodic narratives about media corruption and rebellion were the mainstays of Jarman’s imitators, of which the only film that seems to be moving in a new direction is The Blank Generation, which exhibits Lommel and R.W. Fassbinder’s affections for melodrama and Hollywood classicism.  Rather quickly this approach to youth targeted underground filmmaking was commercialized by MTV, and would manifest itself later in a distilled version as Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners (1987).

In its moment, Jubilee was shocking and controversial, not just for Jarman’s visual comparisons of British authorities with Nazis, but also for the frank depictions of homosexual intercourse and police violence.  Of all the “punk” films that followed, Jubilee is the only film with a clear political perspective and filmic style that can claim to form one cohesive aesthetic whole.  Jubilee’s suppression at the time of its release is not surprising given the political turmoil in England at the time. But such blatant censorship only strengthened the resolve of the counter-culture, propelling Derek Jarman into a sort of messiah position in Britain’s underground and queer cultures.

In order to better understand the context and significance of Jubilee, one must take into account a number of influential figures upon both Derek Jarman and the British underground in general.  Figures as diverse as William S. Burroughs, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, and Nicholas Ray all figure into the cinema of Derek Jarman rather heavily.  Consider William S. Burrough’s Nova Trilogy (The Ticket That Exploded, Nova Express and The Soft Machine), whose primary focus is the corruption of man by a vast influx of new information and technology, that gives way to a grim future akin to an orgiastic homosexual reinterpretation of Orwell’s 1984.  These texts are indispensable to Jarman, who will employ Brion Gysin’s cut-up technique on the soundtrack of The Last Of England.  Through all three of Burroughs’ novels, the television set is an object of menace, just as it is a means for Borgia Ginz to control the youth population in Jubilee.

David Bowie’s influence on the “punk” movement is immeasurable, but to Jubilee more exclusively, Bowie’s influence can be pinpointed to the years 1972 and 1973 of his career when he assumed the persona of Ziggy Stardust.  Bowie’s invented character embodies campy high fashion and a fame seeking self-destruction.  These two character traits outline the trajectory and concerns of the characters Kid, Crabs, and Mad in Jubilee, just as they coincide with every struggling musician’s ambitions to some degree.  The difference here is the “camp” that Jarman pushes to excess in his performers, so that each becomes a terribly funny and self-aware parody of themselves.

The “campy” quality of the performances is indicative also of the circumstances surrounding the performers themselves.  Like Andy Warhol, Derek Jarman (also a painter) surrounded himself with a group of outlandish individuals who would hang around his studio space.  From this collection of individuals, Jarman cast many of his short films, and a number of roles in Jubilee.  The influence of Warhol in this fashion is typical; underground filmmakers, without many professional connections, are reliant upon Warhol’s tactics of casting his friends and hangers-on in his films.

The final major influence on Jubilee is the least expected, Nicholas Ray.  Jarman infuses his film with the devices in Ray’s Rebel Without A Cause (1955) to evoke the “youth in trouble” sub-genre.  Slow panning shots that build tension are a mainstay in each film, as is the adoption of a family unit by a group of friends.  Bod and her gang of girlfriends are an appropriate “punk” perversion of the James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo family unit in Rebel Without A Cause.  Jarman repeatedly calls the audience’s attention to the parallel with his use of the color “red” in interior shots, recalling the deep Technicolor red of Dean’s jacket in Ray’s film.

Color and form themselves are exciting components that are essential to Jarman’s visual style.  A painter first and foremost, Jarman’s obsession with the human form in the work of Caravaggio is infamous.  Beyond Jarman’s biopic on the painter, Caravaggio (1986), Jarman implements Caravaggio’s compositional style into many of the shots in his films.  Most often, Jarman will employ Caravaggio’s strategy of highlighting the human form by lighting them against a black backdrop.  The effect not only directs the viewer’s focus, but also conveys a sensuous longing and desire.  The tactic described above is used numerous times in Jubilee; most notably during the first interior at the castle of Queen Elizabeth I.

All these stylistic influences from the counterculture and Jarman’s passion for the Baroque represent individual signifiers that run throughout Jubilee to form a post-modernist cinematographic complex.  This allows not just for a diverse sensory experience, but also an intellectual one.  The prowess with which Jarman addresses each component is often overlooked by audiences and critics alike; the “camp” and violence overshadow the heavier themes at work in the film.  Yet, this appears to be the precise mode that Derek Jarman wishes Jubilee to function in.  Consider Dick Hebdige’s observation in his book Subcultue: The Meaning Of Style: “the ‘working classness’, the scruffiness and earthiness of punk ran directly counter to the arrogance, elegance and verbosity of the glam rock superstar”.  Hebdige has described glam rock as “extreme foppishness, incipient elitism”, the exact connotations Jarman tries so hard to avoid in his filmmaking style.  The “camp” and violence in Jubilee is simply a means to reach the British “every man”.  The loftier issues Jarman addresses are meant to linger in the background, working subliminally on the film’s audience so as not to isolate or condescend.  I would therefore argue that such a device is not a detractor from the film, but a necessity.

The kind of manipulation and cultural understanding to execute a seemingly simple yet infinitely complex film like Jubilee speaks to a maturity critics were not willing to recognize in Jarman when Jubilee was first released.  Perhaps the campy violence made it a film that was easy to dismiss, or perhaps it was Jarman’s open homosexuality that prevented serious critical evaluation..

-Robert Curry

Leave a comment

Filed under international films