Monday, November 28, 2011

Thank you, Ken Russel; Tommy was good fun

The news of Ken Russell's death shook the world media; he is now called a pioneer, an iconoclast, a groundbreaking and controversial director, things that he always has been, of course. I admire more, though, those who are brave enough to love him for his  kitschy and bombastic qualities, in Tommy, for instance.

Tommy is the film that left me utterly impressed with its unconventional thrill (and I recently proposed it to a friend as an equivalent, somehow, to the Greek cult film O Drakoulas ton Eksarheion). Tommy is definitely the film I would recommend to the audience that first heard of him today, because of the unfortunate event of his decease.

It's now high time to get to know Ken Russel, folks, now that he's gone and he's even bigger. People will understand him more from now on. They will  see how difficult it is to pull this off; it is not easy to make a film of the 1969 rock opera album by The Who and make it right. Pure extravaganza and psychedelia, Tommy, featuring Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, Elton John as the Pinball Wizard, Eric Clapton as the Preacher, Jack Nickolson and of course the band members is something you have never seen before. I will say nothing more; saying that the visual style is disorientating, thus smart and hugely enjoyable still cannot grasp a bit of the experience itself; just make sure you don't like religion too much, otherwise you will probably need to pray for an hour or so, before watching it and head straight to confession afterwards.

Ken Russel was even more cool because he is British. Critics and audiences also love to remember him for Women in Love with Alan Bates, Altered State with William Hurt, The Devils with Vannessa Redgrave, all three based on novels, and his biopics for classical music composers like Mahler, Liszt and Tchaikovsky.

No comments: