Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Conclusions. The auteristic traits of any director can have a strong, almost unstoppable effect on a film and its subject matter. This often ranges from stylistic visual aestheticism to more thematic trends in a director’s body of work. For this case study of the work of Ken Russell, this … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 9 (Conclusions).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. When approaching a cinematic portrayal of Richard Strauss, Russell is, for the first time in his biographical canon, openly honest about its position within cultural texts. Dance of the Seven Veils has a sub-heading that reads “A comic strip in 7 episodes on the life of Richard Strauss” which is the first open admission that this is … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 5 (Dance of the Seven Veils).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Transitional Films and Symbolic Representations of Classical Composers. In spite of using the visual form as an excuse for experimentation with documentary and biography as seen in his films for the BBC, it wasn’t until the early 1970s where Russell really found material to properly experiment with. The word experimental however must be contextualised as even the films discussed … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 4 (The Music Lovers).
“In documentary we deal with the actual, and in one sense with the real. But the really real, if I may use that phrase, is something deeper than that. The only reality which counts in the end is the interpretation which is profound.” – John Grierson. With Sight & Sound’s recent poll for best documentaries (September 2014), I wanted to explore some of the British … Continue reading Great British Documentaries
Part 1. Part 2. The Dramatisation of History in The Debussy Film (1965). For a film relatively early on in Russell’s portrayals of classical composers, The Debussy Film is surprisingly knowing about the director’s position as story-teller in the relaying of history to the viewer. The history of the French “impressionist” composer, Claude Debussy, is one of the more dramatic that Russell chooses to recreate … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 3 (The Debussy Film).
Part 1. BBC Monitor and the Use of Audio-Visual Form as Musicological Comment. The medium that Russell first gained traction in was not in fact film but in television documentaries. The flop of his first feature film, French Dressing (1964), marks the advent of his daring creativity entering into his work as television director; a role he had begun at the BBC for their documentary … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 2 (Monitor and Bartok).
The Russell Prism: How Ken Russell’s Auteuristic Aesthetics Presents a Reception Study of Classical Music and its Composers. The following essay was a dummy-run dissertation for my Masters course before realising that the subject had already been covered thrice in audio-visual academia. Though none of three essays analyse or go into the depth of the work (instead choosing to shoehorn their own subject matter through … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 1 (Introduction).