One of the greatest directors of all time, the 83-year-old Ken Russell, is enjoying a retrospective at the Lincoln Center Film Society, Russellmania, starting this weekend going on through July 5th. This is one filmmaker who pushed the envelope both creatively and professionally -- and in many ways changed both the face of cinema, inspiring many of my generation both aesthetically and personally,
Not only will nearly all of his best films be screened there -- from some of my favorites such as The Devils (1971) and Savage Messiah (1972) -- but some of his most widely acclaimed films such as his Oscar-winning Women in Love (1969) and his extravagant version of The Who's Tommy (1975) will get a proper showing again.
More importantly, the eccentric British filmmaker will also make an extended appearance here, spending six nights providing conversations with the audience about several of his most memorable and provocative films.
Tonight, he discusses his experiences in making The Devils, his torturously graphic telling of an Inquisition-like persecution inspired by Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon (with Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave). Though he had been in New York not long ago when his production of the play, Mindgame, was seen here, he has not been around the city for such a substantial time to really talk about his work publicly in years.
On Saturday, July 31, Russell will answer questions about his sexually ground-breaking version of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love. The film starred Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, and Alan Bates and is unforgettable for its nude wrestling scene, which showed male genitalia.
On Sunday August 1st, The Boy Friend will screen with Russell in attendance. This is one of his many musically-inspired films, this time harkening back to the Jazz Age starring famous model Twiggy and Glenda Jackson.
On Monday Aug. 2nd, the burly director will join the audience in discussing Mahler, one of his several biographical films inspired by the life of a classical composer. Another one of those fascinating cinematic re-imaginings, Lisztomania, will have Russell on hand this coming Wednesday August, 4th.
Finally, on Thursday August 5th, the Film Society will show his incredible visual fantasy version of the Who's landmark rock opera -- to be dissected by director and audience alike.
2:00 Women in Love
4:30 The Music Lovers
7:00 The Devils + conversation
1:00 The Boy Friend
3:45 The Devils
6:00 The Music Lovers
8:15 Women in Love + conversation
1:15 The Devils
6:00 Savage Messiah
8:15 The Boy Friend + conversation
2:30 Savage Messiah
7:00 Mahler + conversation
4:30 The Boy Friend
7:00 Lisztomania + conversation
2:00 The Boy Friend
4:30 The Devils
7:00 Tommy + conversation