Julien Temple

Julien Temple

Temple at a film festival in Mexico in March 2010
Born Julien Andrew Temple
(1952-11-26) 26 November 1952[1]
Kensington, London, England
Occupation Director
Spouse(s) Amanda Temple
Children 3, including Juno Temple
Website www.julientemple.com

Julien Andrew Temple (born 26 November 1952)[2] is an English film, documentary and music video director.[3] He began his career with short films featuring the Sex Pistols, and has continued with various off-beat projects, including The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle,[3] Absolute Beginners and a documentary film about Glastonbury.

Early life

Temple was born in Kensington, London, the son of Landon Temple, who organised the travel company Progressive Tours.[4] His sister is politician Nina Temple. He was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School (from which he was expelled), William Ellis School, and King's College, Cambridge.[5] He grew up with little interest in film until, when a student at Cambridge, he discovered the works of French anarchist director Jean Vigo. This, along with his interest in the early punk scene in London in 1976, led to his friendship with The Sex Pistols, leading him to document many of their early gigs.



Temple's first 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. As band members Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious had left the band by this time, the story of the group is told from the viewpoint of their manager, Malcolm McLaren.

The Great Rock And Roll Swindle tells of the rise of The Sex Pistols, apparently as manipulated by McLaren, and how he had shaped the band throughout their short career. Many 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 for which he would be best known for much of his career.

1980s and 1990s

In 1983, Temple directed a film for the BBC Arena series called It's All True, named after the 1942 unfinished Orson Welles film. Compered by Welles himself, the film comprised many short segments about the state of the video industry, both real and imagined, many featuring cameos by celebrities including Mel Brooks, Grace Jones,[6] Ray Davies, and Koo Stark.[7] This was followed by Temple's next theatrical release, 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 by the Kinks, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and other British artists, several of which were early, groundbreaking, videos for the new MTV channel, but he was yet to direct a major film.

In 1986, Temple directed the film version of Colin MacInnes' book Absolute Beginners. One of the most expensive films in British history, the fate of the studios involved (as well as several careers) were dependent on the success of the film. The film was critically panned in the UK. As it was a musical, rather than a straight adaptation of the book, it was attacked for a lack of narrative; it was also called "a series of badly-linked music videos". Absolute Beginners was financially unsuccessful and was partly responsible for the Goldcrest company going bankrupt. Temple found himself being blamed personally for the failure. He moved to the United States, where he was offered the film Earth Girls Are Easy, as well as a series of music videos for such artists as Janet Jackson, Neil Young and Tom Petty.

Temple returned to the UK in the late 1990s, where he continued to make films and music videos. Vigo: Passion for Life (1998) recounts the passionate relationship between French film maker Jean Vigo (1905–34) and his wife Lydou, who both suffered from Tuberculosis. The film was not well received. A reviewer in Sight & Sound commented that the film "although absolutely faithful to the facts, is absolutely dreadful".[8]


Films which followed included Pandæmonium (2001), a critically acclaimed film about the friendship between Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and The Filth and the Fury (2000), 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.

Between 2002 and 2005, Temple completed a feature-length documentary about the Glastonbury Festival. This involved him shooting footage at the festival as well as drawing on the vast amount of archival footage, as well as footage sent in by fans of the festival. It was released in the UK in April 2006.

In 2006 (premiered January, 2007), Temple made a film of the life of his friend, in Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.

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 Empire. These concerts were previews of the band's forthcoming album, The Liberty Of Norton Folgate. A DVD release is awaited.[9]

In 2009, Temple directed the third film in his punk trilogy, Oil City Confidential, which celebrated the Canvey Island legends Dr. Feelgood, and a hymn to the Motor City entitled Requiem For Detroit? (2010).


In 2010, Temple directed the biography Ray Davies:Imaginary Man. Previously, he had directed several Kinks videos. Also, he was referred to by name in The Kinks song Too Hot from their Word of Mouth album: "Julien's on the street today/ Scouting out locations..."

Personal life

With his wife, Amanda (Pirie) Temple,[10] Temple has a daughter named Juno (born in 1989) and two sons, Leo (born 1993) and Felix (born 2000).


Music videos

Year Song Artist Notes Ref.
1977 "God Save the Queen" Sex Pistols
1979 "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" Neil Young
1980 "Breaking the Law" Judas Priest
"Living After Midnight"
"Argent trop cher" Téléphone
1981 "She's Got Claws" Gary Numan
"Magnetic Fields Part 2" Jean Michel Jarre
"Don't Go" Judas Priest
"Heading Out to the Highway"
"Hot Rockin'"
"Rock This Town" Stray Cats
"Stray Cat Strut"
"Predictable" The Kinks
1982 "Save It for Later" The Beat
"Poison Arrow" ABC
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" Culture Club
"See You" Depeche Mode
"The Meaning of Love"
"Leave in Silence"
"Come On Eileen" Dexys Midnight Runners
"You've Got Another Thing Comin'" Judas Priest
"Come Dancing" The Kinks
1983 "Freewheel Burning" Judas Priest
"Don't Forget to Dance" The Kinks
"State of Confusion"
"Too Much Blood" The Rolling Stones
"Undercover of the Night"
1984 Jazzin' for Blue Jean David Bowie Short promo film for "Blue Jean"
"Do It Again" The Kinks
"She Was Hot" The Rolling Stones
"Smooth Operator" Sade
1986 "Absolute Beginners" David Bowie
"Don't Need a Gun" Billy Idol
"When I Think of You" Janet Jackson
1987 "Day-In Day-Out" David Bowie
1988 "This Note's for You" Neil Young
1989 "Planet Texas" Kenny Rogers
"No More" Neil Young
"Rockin' in the Free World"
"Tin Machine" Tin Machine Short promo video shown in cinemas before the 1989 film Lenny Live and Unleashed
"Free Fallin'" Tom Petty
"Yer So Bad"
"Forever Blue" Swing Out Sister
1990 "Alright" Janet Jackson
"F*!#in' Up" Neil Young
"Over and Over"
"I'm Your Baby Tonight" Whitney Houston
1991 "Don't Rock the Jukebox" Alan Jackson
"(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" Bryan Adams
"Highwire" The Rolling Stones
"King of the Hill" (feat. Tom Petty) Roger McGuinn
"Into the Great Wide Open" Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Learning to Fly"
"Black Sunshine" Me Phi Me
"Pu' Sho Hands 2Getha"
"Sad New Day"
"Harvest Moon" Neil Young
"Elvis On Velvet" Stray Cats
1993 "Adam in Chains" Billy Idol
"For Tomorrow" Blur
"Come Undone" Duran Duran
"Too Much Information"
"I'm Gonna Soothe You" Maria McKee
1994 "The Eyes of Truth" Enigma
"Return to Innocence"
1996 "Beyond the Invisible" Enigma
1997 "Beautiful Night" Paul McCartney
2001 "Have You Ever" S Club 7
2002 "You" S Club 7
2004 "Mary" Scissor Sisters [15]
2006 "Love You But You're Green" Babyshambles
"The Blinding"
2009 "Postcard From London" Ray Davies


  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  2. Robinson, David (1994). The Chronicle of Cinema, 1895-1995. 3. British Film Institute. p. 72.
  3. 1 2 "Julien Temple". The New York Times.
  4. Thorpe, Vanessa (19 January 2013). "Sundance star Juno Temple to play Princess Margaret in royal film". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  5. Chainsaw, Billy (August 2004). "Julien Temple | Interviews". Bizarre. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  6. "Grace Jones". BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  7. "ARENA: IT'S ALL TRUE, PT. 1 (TV)". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  8. Temple, Michael (June 1999). "Vigo Passion for Life (1997)". Sight & Sound. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  9. "Madness to showcase new album". ITV.com.
  10. Doggart, Sebastian (24 February 2011). "Juno Temple: portrait of an expat starlet". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  11. James, Caryn (May 12, 1989). "Earth Girls Are Easy (1989) Review/Film; On Shaving, Furry Aliens Turn Into Valley Guys". The New York Times.
  12. Child, Ben (14 February 2011). "Julien Temple to direct Marvin Gaye biopic". The Guardian.
  13. Vincent Dowd (January 1, 2015). "Julien Temple on The Clash: 'The energy of punk is really needed now'". BBC News. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  14. "The Clash: New Year's Day '77". BBC Four. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  15. We Are Scissor Sisters... And So Are You (liner notes). Scissor Sisters. Polydor Records (DVD – 986881–3). November 29, 2004.

External links

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