Monday, 20 May
ALTERED STATES 1980
Directed by Ken Russel
Ken Russell's metaphysical, transcendental romantic sci-fi film Altered States caused a ruckus of excitement when it was first released because of its colourful avant-garde visual effects and its portrayal of hallucinogenic drugs in a scientific context. Ken Russell is one of the greats, and he smashed so many barriers throughout his life in the cinema world. This is a very different type of Ken Russell film, more linear and story-orientated, with Russell strategically letting go during "dream sequences" or "drug experience" passages. The film is about a research scientist (William Hurt) who believes in different states of consciousness and uses the combination of a sensory deprivation tank and hallucinogenic drugs to find the ultimate truth of our origins. But soon his volatile mind-altering experiments go out of control. In the end it's a love story, but not a normal one... more of an amorous mutation.
The script by Paddy Chayefsky (Network) is brilliant and challenging. Director Ken Russell's approach is startling; more like abstract expressionism than any kind of realism. The performances, especially by Blair Brown and William Hurt are raw and riveting. It's a balance between a 'normal' narrative film and the avant-garde. Just to let you know, this flick is the closest thing to a blockbuster that you will ever see me screen!
This will be a wild high-definition projection.
Short film before the feature: THE UNINVITED GUEST 1969
Directed by Vlastimil Venclík
In Czech with English subtitles
A surreal short that is considered legendary in Czechoslovakia, but in the West Bloc is totally unknown. The director doesn't even have an imdb page. A deeply weird flick about sudden unwanted visitors. Amazing
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