Monday, November 28, 2011

RIP Ken Russell

British film director Ken Russell died yesterday at the age of 84.  Russell's unique work will live on and, in my mind, his master work, THE DEVILS (1971), will only continue to grow in stature and find new worshippers... er, uh... admirers.  I was grateful to be able to attend the Lincoln Center Film Society screening of THE DEVILS with Mr. Russell and Ms. Redgrave last summer.
Upon seeing the film for the first time in the mid-seventies in a Washington D.C. repertory cinema, I felt then and just as strongly now, that Oliver Reed's performance was his most powerful and truly Oscar worthy!  Seek out the film wherever and however you can (it's currently only available uncut on a pirated DVD from a BBC broadcast) and if you're as fascinated with the true story as I am, read Aldous Huxley's excellent non-fiction book, THE DEVILS OF LOUDUN (1952)!  For the hardcore, check out Krzyzstof Penderecki's experimental 1968 opera, DIE TEUFEL VON LOUDUN (available on DVD and out-of-print CD) and Jerzy Kawalerowicz's stunning film, MOTHER JOAN OF THE ANGELS (1961), based on a Polish novella that serves as a sort of sequel to the historical events detailed in Huxley's book and a worthy companion piece to Russell's film.  Sorry for going off on a DEVILS tangent...

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