Lincoln Center to Screen Works of British Enfant Terrible Ken Russell

by Nigel M Smith
June 24, 2010 5:30 AM
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The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced yesterday that from July 30 to August 5, they will screen nine works from British director Ken Russell, in a series entitled "Russellmania." Russell, long regarded as British cinema's greatest enfant terrible, promises to be present at every screening.

"Ken Russell is one of those rare artists whose work consistently bridged--and sometimes confounded--the gap between "art cinema" and "commercial cinema," said Richard Peña, Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center. "His works were both extremely personal and accessible to a wide range of international audiences, and this is a terrific opportunity to discover his very special vision of life, love, art and politics."

The nine films selected to screen are:

"The Boy Friend"
Twiggy and Glenda Jackson star in a behind-the-scenes Jazz Age backstage musical that alternates between humble homemade theater and lush Busby Berkeley-esque sequences.

"The Devils"
Nuns Gone Wild! Power, corruption and lies in Russell's ultra-controversial, semi-sacreligious take on 17th-century Catholicism. Set design by Derek Jarman.

"Lisztomania"
Flamboyantly anachronistic, this riotous, gleefully bawdy portrait of Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey) and Richard Wagner (Paul Nicholas) tears up the Great Artists biopic rulebook. Featuring Ringo Starr as the Pope.

"Mahler"
The ailing Mahler recalls his fabulous triumphs and crushing defeats in Russell's absorbing transition between his early biographies and later stylized fantasias.

"The Music Lovers"
Richard Chamberlain stars as the sexually tormented Tchaikovsky opposite Glenda Jackson as his mad wife in Russell's first big-screen composerama.

"Savage Messiah"
In this flashback to Bohemian Paris, modernist sculptor Henri Gaudier finds true union with older lover Sophia Brzeska. With Helen Mirren nude descending a staircase.

"Tommy"
The 35th anniversary of The Who's rock opera, starring Ann-Margret, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Oliver Reed, Tina Turner, and Jack Nicholson.

"Valentino"
Russell's extravagant homage to the idols of silent Hollywood, starring Rudolf Nureyev as the Latin Lover, is still the source of apocryphal stories about the movies' first superstar.

"Women in Love"
D.H. Lawrence meets his match in Russell's blazing adaptation, with Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling nude and Glenda Jackson winning an Oscar.

[Synopses provided by The Film Society of Lincoln Center]

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