Tuesday, 20 September
MAHLER * 1974 * Directed by Ken Russell * 115 minutes * In English
British director Ken Russell started off his career by making iconoclastic movies about classical composers. As the trend went on, the films became more daring, flamboyant, wild and explosive... bursting with a loose free-flowing visual poetry because that's the best way he could connect the film to the music. By doing so, he dusted classical music off and saved it from the clutches of dry academics. This visionary work arrived towards the tail end of this journey, and it has an expressionistic approach fusing Gustav Mahler's biography with deeply rich, fantasy-filled, often non-rational images that flare up with a painter's imagination.
The setting is simple. The film enters Mahler's life shortly before he dies, when his music compositions don't even pay for his living expenses, so he takes on work as a concert conductor to survive. He has just returned from the United States and is traveling with his wife Alma across Europe to Vienna. While he is on the train, this passage of in-between time leads to a stream of flashbacks and daydreams. Especially the fantasy sequence of Mahler's conversion to Catholicism is represented with pure madness. In Russell's films time is made more fluid—so the past and present are woven together and not separated.
The images are often downright gorgeous, creating a sense of awe and inspiration. And, once again, Mahler's inspiration didn't come from academia, but from his love of nature... so it's fitting these images are so sublime. This is the kind of experimental cinema that we need more of... it isn't forced or overly-mental.... in fact it's sensual as hell, reclaiming the truest meaning of poetry.
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time:
- 3-5 €