Last night I dreamt that I was neighbours with Ken Russell. This morning Ken Russell at the BBC came in the post. Today, I’m going to watch Ken Russell films.
Thursday morning’s 3 reasons to watch Ken Russell
1. He is the most exciting British director. His absence of sanity combined with his visionary nature are responsible for some of the finest works of the last 40 years. See for details: The opening to Mahler, the 1812 Overture from The Music Lovers and of course the still-banned rape of Christ scene from The Devils.
2. He is responsible for the rise in interest in British documentaries. Russell spent years fighting the BBC to allow him to tackle his documentaries the way he wanted to which began with a montage of photographs beneath a Huw Wheldon voiceover and culminated in 1968 with The Dance of the Seven Veils, another still banned dramatization of the life of composer Richard Strauss.
3. He deserves our undivided attention. Russell was a martyr of the film industry, a man whose revolutionary output defied the comfortable stagnation of modern day cinema. Since Russell, only Peter Greenaway has proved that cinematic evolution is not yet dead; see Prospero’s Books. Russell became unbankable for his unique approach to film-making and though not every film he ever made was a masterpiece the majority of them certainly shouldn’t be dismissed.