Ken Russell – Women in Love (1969)

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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.
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Ken Russell – Lisztomania (1975)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

Ken Russell – il mefistofele (1989)

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Arrigo Boito’s Il Mefestefele was first performed in 1868 and his most known work. In Ken Russell’s modern interpretation presented by the Genoese Opera, it has Faust as an ageing hippy. He smokes marijuana and is tormented by his lost youth. Mephisto makes a bet with God that he can turn anyone to pagan life, even someone as innocent as Faust. From then on it is a battle of good against evil in a flamboyant, surreal display of primary colours, PVC costumes, nurses with swastikas, rocket trips, love and even characters dressed as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Ken Russell said because the devil is always with us is his reason for the contemporary setting. Written by Archie Moore Continue reading