Ken Russell – French Dressing (1964)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
‘Gormleigh-by-the-Sea is a holiday community besotted with dullness. But things liven up when Jim, a young deck-chair attendant, convinces the local entertainment director and mayor into starting a film festival. The town convinces an ambitious French actress to be the star of the festival. What happens after that is a series of near disasters — including the failure of a Nudist Beach and a riot at a film premiere. It is left to Jim’s American journalist girlfriend to save the situation and the reputation of the town.’
– Paul Brenner Continue reading

Ken Russell – Women in Love (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Ken Russell’s celebrated and controversial film is a lyrical take on love and death as experienced by a Britain ravaged by World War One. Based on D H Lawrence’s acclaimed novel, it tells the story of two couples trapped between the pressure to follow convention and the urge to explore a Bohemian lifestyle. Set against the lush English landscape, the protagonists engage with nature in a direct and sensuous way, each searching for love but unsure what it means. Featuring stunning performances by Alan Bates, Jennie Linden, Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson (whose role earned her an Academy Award), Women in Love is opulently designed, beautifully shot and is an undisputed landmark of British cinema. Continue reading

Ken Russell – The Miner’s Picnic (2006)

bbc’s website wrote:
Back in 1960 Ken Russell made a remarkable film about mining in Northumberland called The Bedlington Miners’ Picnic.
Forty five years on, Russell is back in the North East revisiting the people and places featured in the film.
It’s a poignant story of survival, loss and community spirit.
South East Northumberland was once one of Britain’s richest coalfields, producing tons of coal for industry and homes.
Today the coal mining industry is virtually extinct in the North East of England with no deep pits left in production.
Inside Out follows film director Ken Russell as he revisits the area where he shot one of his first documentary films in 1960.
Continue reading

Ken Russell – Lisztomania (1975)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
A musical extravaganza based loosely on the lives of 19th-century Romantic composers Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Far from being dreamy artistes, these music men are both wildly ambitious and hungry for acclaim — Liszt frolics with European royalty, while Wagner campaigns for the unification of Germany. Continue reading

Ken Russell – The Music Lovers (1970)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was born in Kamsko-Votinsk in 1840 and died in St. Petersburg of cholera in 1893. In between he composed some of the world’s loveliest, most romantic music, married unhappily, suffered terrible bouts of depression that were linked to both his genius and his homosexuality (which he hid and referred to in his writings only by means of a hieroglyphic), and was acclaimed at home and abroad.

Although such authentic genius defies rational interpretation, except, perhaps, by another genius, Ken Russell’s “The Music Lovers” sets out to do just that. At least, I assume that’s what the film set out to do. Because “The Music Lovers” plays rather loosely with some of the facts of Tchaikovsky’s life, it can be accepted only as the kind of interpretation that certifies the most baroque speculation. Continue reading

Ken Russell – Altered States (1980)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
Based on a novel and a disowned script by the late Paddy Chayefsky, Russell’s noisily grandiose swipe at psychedelia embellishes what is no more than the cosily familiar story of the obsessive Scientist Who Goes Too Far and Unwittingly Unleashes, etc. Harvard clever-dick (played with almost unconvincing solemnity by Hurt) blows his sensory deprivation experiments (with a little help from his friends and hallucinogenic drugs), and starts to regress – spectacularly – until he looks in serious danger of being sucked down the cosmic lavatory pan into the big zilch.
Time Out Continue reading

Ken Russell – The Devils [+Extras] (1971)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of seventeenth-century France, but need to destroy Father Grandier – the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control. So they seek to destroy him by setting him up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery, the mother superior of which is sexually obsessed by him. A mad witch-hunter is brought in to gather evidence against the priest, ready for the big trial. Continue reading