Traces last 5 years of the life of Frederick Delius through the eyes of the young composer Eric FenbyTraces last 5 years of the life of Frederick Delius through the eyes of the young composer Eric FenbyTraces last 5 years of the life of Frederick Delius through the eyes of the young composer Eric Fenby
The film follows the story of composers Eric Fenby and Delius. Fenby was touched by the plight of Delius (he had become blind, partially paralysed and subject to chronic pain), and went to live with him for some years in order to help him complete his unfinished works.
Delius' introduction is strange and reminded me of the scene in Citizen Kane where Kane's college buddy Jedediah is shown in dark glasses by latticed light, sat in a chair at a sanatorium, indelibly senesced. Fenby, a devout ingénue Yorkshireman, is shown as a reflection in these dark glasses.
Fenby is disturbed by the artworks in the Delius household (including some particularly suggestive Edvard Munch paintings) and tales of Delius' scandalous youth. It's this contrast that lends the film much flavour, the youthful, submissive and repressed Fenby, the crippled atheistic tyrant Delius. Their love of nature and their desire to reflect nature in music is what brings them together.
The acting throughout is stellar, the bit parts contributing just as much to the whole as the rest. Actually the brief stint of Percy Grainger, an altogether different young composer, really brings the Fenby/Delius contrast into relief. The film I would suggest is as much about Fenby as Delius.
What I like about this movie and what Russell would never bring into his more written about later filmography, is the use of suggestion. The imagination is ecstatically dilated by mere recollections of la vie Parisienne, and times spent shooting alligators with negroes in the Everglades at night.
My congratulations to Ken Russell on what is a perfect film, even the closing credits have the mark of genius on them.
- Dec 30, 2010