I wanted to express my condolences here for Ken Russell, a great innovative filmmaker whose vision has inspired me and opened my mind. He passed away recently at the age of 84.
Ken Russell is probably best known for the film adaption of the musical Tommy which was of course based on the 1969 album of the same name from The Who (which, coincidentally, happens to be my favorite album of all time). He also directed such notable films as The Devils (about a group of nuns who become possessed, starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave) and Altered States (starring William Hurt). He earned an Oscar nomination with Women in Love which earned Glenda Jackson an Academy Award for Best Actress.
I really love Ken’s style, mostly because it’s so creative, colorful, and visual. He really understood that film is a visual medium and that the cliche always rings true: a picture is worth a thousand words. And with film turning at 24 frames a second, there are a lot of beautiful pictures to behold.
Even to this day, his films pack a potent punch. He didn’t hold anything back and his art is all the better because of it. It’s strange, off kilter. Not only do his images provoke many thoughts and dreams but the concepts he had at play, the ideas behind the image all rang loudly for me. Ideas of what our identities truly mean, how much we believe ourselves to be real, the realities of sexual possession and repression, overzealous unwarranted prosecutions. His film will continue to live on for a long time, which is as much as any artist could ever ask for. I encourage any film viewer to seek out this man’s work.