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Directed by Ken Russell: Film Fridays at the Mary Pickford Theater

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1415-films-septIn the Muse is excited to announce our September film series, Directed by Ken Russell. The late director, who died in 2011, had a vividly colorful, operatic vision of cinema, and was attracted to music that was similarly bold and romantic. With co-sponsors DCist and Brightest Young Things, we present four evenings of Russell’s most outrageous musical films, hosted by Music Division staff member and DCist film critic Pat Padua. Note: Mahler will be screened in 35mm. The remaining films in the Ken Russell series will be projected from digital sources.

Tickets will be available for all programs in the series beginning Wednesday, September 3 at 10:00 am. All films will be shown in the Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. (view map) Doors open 30 minutes before screening. Seating is limited. Stand-bys are encouraged to line up starting at 6:30. In the likely event of a sell-out, available seats will be released to stand-bys five minutes before show time. For information, call (202) 707-5502. All events are free but require tickets, learn more.

Lisztomania (1975) *


Women hurl their undergarments at a long-haired pretty boy musician. This is not just a tale of the 21st century, but of 19th-century composer Franz Liszt, and Ken Russell, alchemical wizard of the outré and outrageous, was the obvious choice to put his version of the life of Liszt (as played by The Who‘s Roger Daltrey) onscreen. (Digital Presentation, 103 min.)

The Music Lovers (1970) *


Ken Russell was incapable of making an ordinary biopic, and his life of Tchaikovsky (played by Richard Chamberlain) is no exception, filled with nightmarish dream sequences and fantasies set to the master’s music. (Digital Presentation, 123 min.)

Mahler (1974)


The director continued his streak of surreal biographies of the great composers with this wildly inventive fantasia on Gustav Mahler (Robert Powell) and his wife Alma (Georgina Hale). The film ostensibly takes place entirely on a single train ride, with the kind of over-the-top flashbacks and dream sequences that make Russell so unpredictable. (35mm 115 min.)

Tommy (1975)


Russell used The Who’s seminal rock opera as a template for what Roger Ebert called the director’s gift for “three-ring cinematic circuses with kinky sideshows.” Roger Daltrey leads the cast of all-stars, including Ann-Margret as Tommy’s mother. (Digital Presentation, 111 min.)

* [R-rated] – No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.


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