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Julien Temple (born November 26, 1953 in Londonmarker) is an Englishmarker film, documentary and music video director. He is most famous for his work featuring the Sex Pistols.


Temple grew up with little interest in film until he discovered the works of director Jean Vigo when he was a student at King's College, Cambridgemarker. This, along with his interest in the early punk scene in London in 1976 led to his friendship with The Sex Pistols, and he began to document many of their early gigs.

But instead of punk rock, heavy metal came first. His first film was an adaptation of the Samson and Delilah bible story filmed with Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden lead singer) in the band Samson at the Rainbow Theatre in London. It was filmed and directed by him. The feature lasts approximately 15 minutes and was shown in cinemas prior to Hazel O'Connor's Breaking Glass in 1980.

His second film was a short documentary called Sex Pistols Number 1, which set out to show the rise of the band from 1976-1977 in a series of short clips from television interviews and gigs.

This led to Temple making The Great Rock And Roll Swindle, another documentary, telling the story of the band from the viewpoint of their manager, Malcolm McLaren, as band members Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious had left. The film told of the rise of the band as apparently manipulated by McLaren and how he had shaped the band throughout their short career. Much of the 'facts' given by McLaren were disputed by John Lydon (who had dropped the Johnny Rotten name after leaving the band), who accused McLaren of using the film to attack him personally. This helped split opinion on the film as although it was praised for attempting to capture some of the punk scene of the time, it was seen as too skewed towards McLaren's vision.

Controversy aside, Temple was praised for his mix of animated scenes, documentary footage, and specially shot footage which he used to tell McLaren's story. This helped launch Temple into a career making music videos, something he would be best known for much of his career. Temple's next theatrical release was the short film Jazzin' for Blue Jean featuring David Bowie which was released as a support feature to The Company of Wolves. By 1985 Temple was now well known for being a director of successful music videos, several of which were early groundbreaking videos for the new MTV channel, but he had not yet directed a major film.

In 1981 Julien Temple directed a documentary containing the foundational members of punk, alternative actor/comedians of The Comic Strip most famously a 22 year old Jennifer Saunders, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson and Peter Richardson. Being from the original punk scene of 1976 and being close friends with The Sex Pistols, it seemed natural for him to direct a group of talented young actors from more or less, the same era he is best known for. The setting was in London's Sohomarker in the Raymond Review Bar, later to be a key location for the film Sid and Nancy directed by British, punk director Alex Cox-who in the film paid a homage to Julien Temple in the scene where Sid Vicious sings his angst ridden take of "My Way" about 50 minutes into the movie. It was an hour long documentary with fairly shocking material in it-giving it a R18 certificate due to its strong drug references, frequent violence, very strong language and a strong sexual nature-including Bestiality. Typical of The Comic Strip Presents alternative, dark and often obscure and surreal humour, this documentary is considered a true masterpiece into the insight of Soho's sordid scene of 1981. The Comic Strip was based around the seedy world of strip clubs and lap dancing bars, and hardcore pornography. The Comic Strip actually was formed alongside a sex club in Soho-quite a paradoxical choice in settings as The Comic Strip's aim was to demolish the comedy before them-Monty Python, Benny Hill etc. Julien temple creates a twisted tale of London- with horror, grotesques, surrealism and obviously humour and of course labelling it with his signature style.

In 1986 he had the offer to direct the film version of Colin MacInnes' book Absolute Beginners by Steven Woolley of Goldcrest Films. Absolute Beginners was one of the most expensive films in British history and the fate of the studios involved (as well as several careers) were riding on the success of the film. The film was a musical and not a straight adaptation of the book and this led to the film being heavily criticised for a lack of narrative, as well as being called a series of badly linked music videos. The film, like much of his music video work, reflects his ongoing interest in deeply saturated color American musicals of the '40s and '50s.

The film was critically panned in the UK and a massive commercial flop, which partly resulted in Goldcrest going bankrupt and the British film industry entering a period of decline. Temple found himself being blamed personally for the failure but the film proved to have a small following in the United States. This led to Temple being offered the film Earth Girls Are Easy as well as a series of music videos for such artists as Janet Jackson.

Temple made America his home after this for much of the next few years but returned to the UK in the late 1990s to make a series of films as well as continuing to make music videos. These films included Pandæmonium, a critically acclaimed 2001 film about the friendship between Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and The Filth and the Fury, another documentary about The Sex Pistols. This time the film was made with the full cooperation of the surviving members of the band and told the story of the band from their viewpoint. This film also mixed newly shot footage and interviews as well as footage culled from The Great Rock and Roll Swindle, as well as previously unseen interviews. The film was a critical success and was seen as setting the record straight in regard to the history of The Sex Pistols.

Since 2002 Temple had been working on a feature length documentary about the Glastonbury Festivalmarker. This has involved him shooting footage at the festival from 2002 to 2005, as well as drawing on the vast amount of archive footage as well as footage sent in by fans of the festival. It was released in the UK in April 2006.

In November 2007, Temple filmed several of the Sex Pistols' comeback shows at the Brixton Academy in London. This was followed by several filming sessions with each member of the band as they re-visited their old London haunts. The footage was assembled into a new documentary film released on DVD in 2008 as The Sex Pistols: There'll Always Be An England, bringing Temple's association with the Sex Pistols up to date.

In June 2008, Temple filmed three concerts by Madness at the Hackney Empiremarker. These concerts were previews of the band's forthcoming album, The Liberty Of Norton Folgate. A DVD release is awaited.

Julien is married to wife Amanda and has three children, Juno, an actress who recently appeared in the film Atonement, Leo, who formerly played football in Yeovil Town Football Club's academy until he injured his knee and a younger son named Felix. His sister is Nina Temple, who was the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain.


Music videos


  2. Retrieved on April 15, 2007

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