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Ken Russell Retrospective at Oldenburg (Sept 7-11)

12th Oldenburg International Film Festival
(September 7th to 11th 2005)will play a Retrospective on Ken Russell.
A celebration of the works of Britain´s groundbreaking director.

The 12th Oldenburg International Film Festival honours Ken Russell, one of the outstanding personalities of British independent cinema. Eight films by the cinematic provocateur and role-model to the lives of Peter Greenaway will be shown an the Festival. Ken Russell will attend the Festival as a guest of honour and his latest film "Hot Pants" will see its World Premiere at the Festival in Oldenburg.

Born in 1927 in Southampton Ken Russell went on to study photography in the 1950s and directed numerous artist’s bio-pics fort he BBC. In 1969 he had his international breakthrough with “Women in Love”, an adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley” starring Glenda Jackson and Alan Bates. Glenda Jackson received an Academy Award for her performance in the film. Over the next years Russell became one of Britain’s most sought-after filmmakers. Movies like “The Devils” (1971) with Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave or the rock-opera “Tommy” (1975) helped his fame to grow. In the 70s he started to work on a number of films about composers, among them “The Music Lovers” (1970) starring Richard Chamberlain. “Altered States” (1980) tells the story of a fantastic scientific experiment, in which scientist Edward Jessup (William Hurt) tries to reach a state of prenatal awareness. After the classic “Crimes of Passion” (1984) starring Kathleen Turner and Anthony Perkins he started working on eccentric low-budget films at the end of the 1990s, one of them being “The Fall of the Louse of Usher” (2002).

With his uncompromising views about British society Ken Russell provoked much international attention in the 70s and 80s. The decay and vanishing of the British bourgeoisie are one of the main themes in his movies. His vivid visual language portrays the clash of middle-class values with bizarre sexuality.

The way he challenged established borders with his aesthetics and his themes made him a revolutionary who rebelled against a paralysed perception of cinema. With unmatched dynamic he combined music, film and theatre and established himself as the spark for the development of new genres. His aggressive and symbolic ways of directing constantly brought him into conflict with the authorities and lead to public controversies. Many of his films were banned.

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