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Ken Russell’s Women In Love Coming To The Criterion Collection? New Restoration Hitting NYC’s Metrograph This Weekend

There are few things that bring joy to this young writer’s eyes than the monthly “wacky drawing” found in the Criterion Collection newsletter. Be it the small pieces hinting at a single pending release, or the one found in each New Year’s letter that leaves nerds searching for answers for the subsequent 12 months, these are exciting little puzzles that leave social media a buzz. And that’s ostensibly what happened once again, this time with some interesting twists.

Earlier this week Criterion sent out their newsletter with a drawing of two women playing a game of tennis, with the score tied at love-love. Now, some have seen this as a hint towards a pending release of the great Milos Forman picture Loves of a Blonde, but the more enticing possibility and the one that seems to be a better fit, Ken Russell’s Women In Love has a particular wrinkle worthy of note.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Anniversaries: Dmitri Shostakovich Born 110 Years Ago

Many consider Dmitri Shostakovich the greatest composer of the 20th century. Born September 25, 1906, he might not have lived past his teens if he hadn't been talented. During the famines of the Revolutionary period in Russia, Alexander Glazunov, director of the Petrograd (later Leningrad) Conservatory, arranged for the poor and malnourished Shostakovich's food ration to be increased. Shostakovich's Symphony No. 1, his graduation exercise for Maximilian Steinberg's composition course at the Conservatory, was completed in 1925 at age 19 and was an immediate success worldwide. He was The Party's poster boy; his Second and Third Symphonies unabashedly subtitled, respectively, "To October". (celebrating the Revolution) and "The First of May". (International Workers' Day).

His highly emotional harmonic language is simultaneously tough yet communicative, but his expansion of Mahlerian symphonic structure, dissonances, sardonic irony, and dark moods eventually clashed with the conservative edicts of Communist Party officials. In 1936 he was viciously denounced by Pravda
See full article at CultureCatch »

Montreal World Film Festival Honors Producer David Puttnam

Montreal World Film Festival Honors Producer David Puttnam
When David Puttnam receives the Grand Prix of the Americas at the Montreal World Film Festival, the award will come as part honor, part vindication for the veteran Oscar-winning producer.

“I retired from filmmaking 18 years ago and you do wonder if anyone remembers you existed,” says Puttnam, 74. “So it’s a very nice re-affirmation that you did have a successful career and you must have done something right.”

The award is also very timely, as 2015 is an important year for Puttnam. Like some ex-mob figure who thought he’d finally escaped his former life, he’s found himself back on active duty. “Much to my amazement, I’m making another film, ‘Arctic 30,’ ” he says.

Puttnam was persuaded to produce the Greenpeace environmental advocacy thriller in part because of his own activism. “I took the world’s first climate change bill (through the British Parliament), and I’m very proud of that,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Passion and Age in Doc 'Around the World in 50 Concerts'

Even in Heddy Honigmann’s “Around the World in 50 Concerts,” ostensibly a 125th anniversary portrait/celebration of Amsterdam’s fabled Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the age disparity between the players and the patrons is as dramatic as Mahler. But Honigmann, the Peruvian-born Dutch documentarian, does what she usually does about questions of passion and age – demolishes them. Whether you happen to be a young Uruguayan bassoonist or an elderly Muscovite survivor of Stalin and Hitler, a love of “serious” music is about soul, not years. Much the same can be said about Honigmann’s films. “Around the World in 50 Concerts,” which the Museum of Modern Art is giving a weeklong run beginning Feb. 28, follows the group along a world tour that includes stops in Argentina, Amsterdam, Johannesburg and Moscow. And the film includes themes that have dominated Honigmann’s considerable body of nonfiction work. Music, for instance, has been a fascination
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

A Comparative Listening Survey of Dvořák's Ninth Symphony, Part II

Having given the history of the "New World" in Part I, it seems wise to preface Part II with some words about how the symphony is constructed. The movements are:

I. Adagio; Allegro molto II. Largo III. Scherzo: Molto vivace IV. Allegro con fuoco

Unusually, every movement starts with an introduction. The first movement's is the most famous: starts with a striking slow introduction that establishes the current of nostalgia for, or homesickness for, the composer's native Bohemia. Another reminder of this comes with the famotus flute solo -- or does it? Some have remarked on its similarity to "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," but this is not so much a quote as a paraphrase, so to speak; small bits of "Chariot" are elided into something new that mingles many flavors: African-America spiritual, yes, but also Native American music and Bohemian folk music, which share a pentatonic flavor.

Note that the
See full article at CultureCatch »

Anniversaries: Johannes Brahms Born 181 Years Ago on May 7, 1833

A classicist using Romantic harmonies, Johannes Brahms (1833-97) was hailed at age 20 by Robert Schumann in a famous article entitled "New Paths." Yet by the time Brahms wrote his mature works, his music was thought of as a conservative compared to the daring harmonies and revolutionary dramatic theories of Richard Wagner. But in the next century, Arnold Schoenberg's 1947 essay titled "Brahms the Progressive" praised Brahms's bold modulations (as daring as Wagner's most tonally ambiguous chords), asymmetrical forms, and mastery of imaginative variation and development of thematic material.

The son of a bassist in the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, Brahms was an excellent pianist who was supporting himself by his mid-teens. His first two published works were his Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, and throughout his career he penned much fine music for that instrument, not only solo (including the later Piano Sonata No. 3) and duo but also his landmark Piano Concertos Nos.
See full article at CultureCatch »

Jim Jarmusch: a maverick true to his roots

While the rest of his cohort have fallen by the wayside or been absorbed into the Hollywood system, the film-maker has stayed weird, as his new movie of erudite vampire love reveals

The word "hipster" invariably crops up in discussions about American film-maker Jim Jarmusch, not least because he looks the part. He is tall, lean, often wears shades and has a famous shock of hair that started turning silvery grey in his teens; his basso drawl completes the uncanny resemblance to a certain Hollywood great, which inspired Jarmusch to found a jokey secret society, The Sons of Lee Marvin.

Jarmusch is without a doubt the most rock'n'roll of film-makers – although he obliges you to define the term. He has worked with a lot of musicians, either as composers or as actors – Neil Young, Tom Waits, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, hip-hop producer RZA. But if you look at the breadth of Jarmusch's references,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Top 10 musicals

Musicals have been tap dancing their way into moviegoers' hearts since the invention of cinema sound itself. From Oliver! to Singin' in the Rain, here are the Guardian and Observer critics' picks of the 10 best

• Top 10 documentaries

• Top 10 movie adaptations

• Top 10 animated movies

• Top 10 silent movies

• Top 10 sports movies

• Top 10 film noir

• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s

10. Oliver!

Historically, the British musical has been intertwined with British music, drawing on music hall in the 1940s and the pop charts in the 50s – low-budget films of provincial interest and nothing to trouble the bosses at MGM. In the late 60s, however, the genre enjoyed a brief, high-profile heyday, and between Tommy Steele in Half a Sixpence (1967) and Richard Attenborough's star-studded Oh! What A Lovely War (1969) came the biggest of them all: Oliver! (1968), Carol Reed's adaptation of Lionel Bart's 1960 stage hit and the recipient of six Academy awards.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

McM announce October’s London Comic Con guest line-up

McM Expo/London Comic Con returns to ExCel London on 25th – 27th October. As well as hosting a galaxy of great sci-fi, movie, games, comics, anime and cosplay content, they’ve also got their usual huge line up of special guests – with more guests being added all the time! see www.mcmcomiccon.com for the latest London Comic Con news – but here’s a round-up of who’s been announced so far:

Red hot fantasy-noir show Lost Girl is coming to McM London Comic Com, with stars Ksenia Solo (Black Swan, Life Unexpected) and Rachel Skarsten (Transporter: The Series, Birds Of Prey) plus executive producer Jay Firestone (Andromeda, La Femme Nikita). Stars from hit sci-fi series Warehouse 13: Kelly Hu (Arrow, X-Men 2, The Vampire Diaries); Eddie McClintock (Bones, Desperate Housewives) and actor/director Saul Rubinek (Frasier, Curb Your Enthusiasm). The stars of new crime thriller By Any Means: Warren Brown (Luther,
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

Film clubs' show of strength

Underground cinema proves itself a force to be reckoned with as London film clubs unite to celebrate the late British film-maker

This month film clubs across the capital will unite in tribute to one of our greatest and most controversial film-makers, Ken Russell, who died in November 2011. Over 10 days and 10 venues, Ken Russell Forever promises to be a fittingly excessive, raucous and idiosyncratic tribute, with cinemagoers able to gorge themselves on films from a career that spanned biopic, horror, musicals, documentaries, thrillers, grindhouse and more. If eyes could get indigestion, you'll be rolling yours in crushed up Rennies by the end of this rich mix.

Bringing together this ragtag group of film clubs, independent cinemas and film blogs is no small feat – and it surely marks a "moment" in the evolution of the pop-up cinema movement that has been quietly gathering steam for some time. Outfits as varied as Strange
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

This week's new DVD & Blu-ray

Punishment Park

When this film was released in 1971, the events that inspired it (such as the Kent State shootings and the Vietnam war) were still fresh in the audience's minds.

When it arrived on DVD a few years back, it was the incarcerations at Guantánamo Bay that drew obvious comparisons. It's only fitting that this latest release, on Blu-ray (and DVD again) arrives soon after rioting and general unrest in Egypt, London, America and, sadly, plenty of other locations. Highly influential director Peter Watkins again uses the documentary style he developed with earlier classics The War Game and Culloden to great effect. A collection of student, arty types and suspicious-looking longhairs are paraded in front of a community tribunal (more a kangaroo court) for various crimes against society (some no more than daring to question the status quo). They are told they can have their long prison sentences commuted to
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Remembering Ken Russell

Dan Ireland offers his rememberance of “Uncle Ken.”

A benefit of having such an eclectic stable of gurus is that our well of experience and stories about working in the business — often with and for giants — is increasingly deep. A number of our gurus, then, have Ken Russell (who died this past weekend) stories. Bernard Rose shared such a story in 2008. And Dan Ireland remembers the man just below.

One of the great joys of my life was my wonderful association with the great, the brilliant, the bad boy of British Cinema himself, Uncle Ken Russell.

Being an early devotee of Women In Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, The Boyfriend, Savage Messiah, Mahler, Tommy, Altered States, Crimes of Passion and just about anything he did, I once tried in vain to get him to attend a tribute that I, along with my partner Darryl Macdonald, organized at the Seattle
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Ken Russell obituary

Formidable film director with an impish sense of humour and a talent to entertain and provoke

Ken Russell, who has died aged 84, was so often called rude names – the wild man of British cinema, the apostle of excess, the oldest angry young man in the business – that he gave up denying it all quite early in his career. Indeed, he often seemed to court the very publicity that emphasised only the crudest assessment of his work. He gave the impression that he cared not a damn. Those who knew him better, however, knew that he did. Underneath all the showbiz bluster, he was an old softie. Or, perhaps as accurately, a talented boy who never quite grew up.

It has, of course, to be said that he was capable of almost any enormity in the careless rapture he brought to making his films. He could be dreadfully cruel to his undoubted talent,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ken Russell celebrated his – and my – eccentric musical obsessions

Russell got inside the psychological and emotional realities of the composers he loved, for which we should be ever grateful

I had two surpassingly strange obsessions as a teenage music lover: Anton Bruckner and Arnold Bax. And so, it turned out, did Ken Russell. I could hardly believe it when, after making his Bruckner film in 1990, The Strange Affliction of Anton Bruckner – a study of the Austrian composer's obsessive compulsive disorders, monastic seclusion and infatuation with young girls – Russell made a TV film a couple of years later about Bax, The Secret Life of Arnold Bax, the biggest prime-time exposure this otherwise little-known English composer is probably ever going to get.

Russell himself played Bax, and Glenda Jackson took the role of one of Bax's lovers, the pianist Harriet Cohen (in fact one of her last acting jobs before devoting her life to politics). But the scene that's burned into
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ken Russell 1927 – 2011: A Tribute To A Controversial British Maverick

It’s always sad when an actor or filmmaker dies, and in 2011 we have had to mourn the loss of many great stars of past and present. Pete Postlethwaite, John Barry, Maria Schneider, Jane Russell, Michael Gough, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Lumet, Peter Falk – all great losses, many of them at much too young an age. Only ten days ago John Neville, the delightfully charismatic star of Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, passed away peacefully aged 86.

But perhaps none of these deaths should be mourned more than that of Ken Russell, who died this week in his sleep at the ripe old age of 84. Aside from his short-lived and ill-advised appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, his name will be unfamiliar to the majority of young filmgoers – people who didn’t grow up with his biopics of Elgar and Mahler, people who didn’t spend their twenties listening to Who records,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Director Ken Russell, 84, Has Died

British director Ken Russell has died in his sleep at the age of 84. Married four times, Russell is survived by Elize Tribble, whom he married in 2001, and his six children. After starting his career in the mid-1950s with various shorts and television projects, he made his feature debut with 1964 comedy French Dressing, which starred James Booth, Roy Kinnear and Marisa Mell. Spending his career as a director, producer, writer and even an actor, Russell was best known for films like Altered States, Tommy (based on The Who rock opera) and Women in Love, which earned him his one and only Academy Award nomination (the same can be said for the Golden Globes). In 1974 Russell brought Mahler, a biopic about composer Gustav Mahler, to the Cannes Film Festival and was both nominated for the Palme d'Or and won the Technical Grand Prize. Though he had some success with awards and
See full article at Cinema Blend »

Ken Russell: his film career was one colossal, chaotic rhapsody

The defiant romantic of British cinema never lacked for critics but his prime inspiration was surely in music

Part glam rocker, part wild-haired conductor, Ken Russell was the populist maestro of the screen, the great defiant romantic of British cinema. Russell's films showed his great love for music and composers: Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Delius, Strauss, Liszt – and Sandy Wilson and Roger Daltrey. Other film-makers might have found their creative impetus in novels or plays; Russell's inspiration was surely primarily in music. His ideas, his images, his rows, his career itself were all one colossal, chaotic rhapsody.

His adventures were a rebuke to British parochialism, literalism and complacency, and he had something of Kubrick's flair for startling or mind-bending spectacle. Russell gave us the nude wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in the Oscar-winning Women In Love (1969) in which each actor, with Russell's cheerful consent, was said to have taken
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ken Russell: Sex, nuns and rock'n'roll

Naked wrestling, religious mania and The Who's Tommy: director Ken Russell transformed British cinema. His closest collaborators recall a fierce, funny and groundbreaking talent

Glenda Jackson

I worked with Ken on six films. Women in Love was the first time I'd worked with a director of that genius, and on a film of that size. What I remember most was the creative and productive atmosphere on set: he was open to ideas from everyone, from the clapperboard operator upwards. Like any great director, he knew what he didn't want – but was open to everything else.

As a director he never said anything very specific. He'd say, "It needs to be a bit more … urrrgh, or a bit less hmmm", and you knew exactly what he meant. I used to ask him why he never said "Cut", and he said, "Because it means you always do something different." They gave
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ken Russell Has Left the Planet

Legendary British filmmaker Ken Russell, the notorious director famous for boundary-pushing films such as Women in Love, Altered States and The Devils, has died at 84 following a series of strokes.

For an artist who's been called an iconoclast, a maverick and a genius — one with a professed love for consciousness-altering drugs — Russell (born July 3, 1927) got his start in a fairly conventional manner. Following a stint in the service, Russell worked as a photojournalist to minor acclaim before going to work at the BBC as a director in 1959.

While at the BBC, Russell made a series of historical documentaries, still regarded as impressive for their impressionistic visual technique. This is the beginning of the flamboyant style that became synonymous with the name Ken Russell. Many of these television films focused on renowned composers, including Edward Elgar, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy. Interestingly, this is subject matter Russell would return to often
See full article at Planet Fury »

Provocative, Controversial Director Ken Russell Dead at 84: The Devils, Women In Love, Tommy

Director Ken Russell, best known for his movies featuring sex-starved nuns, nude male wrestling, "offensive" religious symbolism, and kaleidoscopic musical numbers, died Sunday, Nov. 27, in the United Kingdom. Russell had suffered a series of strokes. He was 84. Now hardly as remembered or admired as, say, '70s Hollywood icons Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman, or Martin Scorsese, Russell not only was — more than — their equal in terms of vision and talent, but he was also infinitely more daring both thematically and esthetically. In fact, Russell was so innovatively controversial that he was referred to as the enfant terrible of British cinema while already in his 40s and 50s. But if middle age brings out complacency and apathy in most people, its effect on Russell (born July 3, 1927, in Southampton) seems to have been the opposite. Following years of work on British television, Russell's 1969 film adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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