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Archive for May 30th, 2019

by Adam Ferenz

The late, great Allan Fish, to whom this festival is dedicated, was a scholar not just of film but of television, which he saw as intrinsically linked. Indeed, my ongoing work on the greatest programs in television history, owes a great debt to his encouragement and generosity, and it is because of that that I once again selected television works for my selection for the Festival.  Both of these essays have been published here before. The following films harken back to an era when the BBC was much more adventurous, yet at the same time, much more educational and cultural minded.  It is no coincidence that some of the great directors of the past fifty or sixty years, got their start on the “small” screen. We are often  reminded of people like Sydney Lumet and Sam Peckinpah. We forget that talents like Ken Russell, Alan Clarke and Peter Watkins were known as much for their television work-if not, in the case of Clarke, almost entirely their television work-as what was released in the cinemas. Here are two of the best from a bygone era in British Telly, something the subject of this festival would no doubt strongly approve. And perhaps, one day, we can see a proper release of Dance Of the Seven Veils.  Fingers crossed.

Dance of the Seven Veils

Ken Russell did many crazy movies during his career, with The Devils often cited as his most insane work, and that is hard to argue. Unless one has seen this film, which is impossible to find in an un-bowdlerized edition-as the only available copies are not properly color timed and still have time stamps on them-which makes properly assessing this somewhat difficult. Telling the story of Richard Strauss, the film was part of a BBC series of programs, directed by Russell, in which he tackled major figures from classical music. His final film for the BBC, and for television, this film can be seen as a bold “fuck you and goodbye forever” from its director. (more…)

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