Tackles the touchy dilemma of Mahler’s Jewishness in the anti-Semitic atmosphere of 19th-century Vienna. He converts to Christianity, which has no effect on his brilliant musical output but which eats away at his physical and mental well-being.
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Beautifully shot, amazing photograph, secure direction. Like Mahler music, full of nonlinear narratives, undertones, but full of massive romantism. Great to see the homage to Luchino Visconti and his Death in Venice at the train station.
A nonlinear epic account of Mahler's troubled life. Told through metaphorical daydreaming experiences, the film greatly depicts the most important events in the composer's life. With surrealistic composition, the symbols are carefully placed at each scene to represent his inner state as well as both the social and family atmospheres. Great acting and music reinforce the engagement.
Ken Russell finds strong and sometimes very capturing pictures for the complex world of Mahler’s art, localizing it in biographical situations, personal relationships, dreams or visions, but also connects them with references to the history of its reception (e.g. with Visconti’s „Morte a Venezia“). One of the highlights is the Walhalla/convertion sequence.
Fairly focused fantasia on Mahler with some lovely moments of tenderness and sensitivity fair nearly crushed by the over-extended vulgarities of the 'Conversion' sequence. On balance a broadly successful exploration of the themes, motifs and factors adding-up to the music and blessed with some strong leading performances from Powell and Hale. Russell appears invigorated by the limited budget.
Disturbed film about a disturbed universal artist and his world. Similar emotions emerge in this film and with Mahler's music. Serious aesthetic, deep romanticism, the ugly insight of music as entropy. Shocking cinema.
You know Ken Russell is gonna come up with some provocative ideas and awesome visuals so let's forgive him for the couple terrible scenes (the conversion is more than borderline) and instead let's remember that we'd rather have this than another half-hearted director who won't take any risk. I respect Russell, even when he's going too far, because it's undeniable that he has a vision and keeps surprising me.