A tribute to Ken Russell
Much loved film producer Ken Russell passed away yesterday. While his passing is of course a sad loss to his family and friends and to the film industry, Ken has left the world a much more interesting place than it was before he entered it, with his thought provoking and often controversial films, many of which gave opportunities to actors who went on to be huge successes, some of whom have stated that they wouldn’t have got their opportunity if not for Ken, including Twiggy. Even Oliver Reed may not have enjoyed such an incredible career if not for the highly acclaimed and controversial Ken Russell movies which he starred in.
I consider myself fortunate to have known Ken Russell. He directed the Movie “Mindbender” which was based on my life. Don’t worry, Mindbender didn’t include many naked people rolling on the floor, and there were no scenes of human sacrifice, although very close!
Working with Ken was incredible, as was the way that he portrayed my life on screen. As with most of Ken’s work, Mindbender was quite controversial, and due to Kens great ability to aggrandise, it was classed by many critics as fiction, but although it was a grand exaggeration of the events on which it was based, the basic themes of the events in the movie were fact, and not fiction.
Ken was an intelligent, fascinatingly literate film director who always wanted to shock, surprise and confuse. He was a master of controversy, and knew how to instill controversy into his films. From being an introvert as a child, and becoming very extravagant and almost wild, there was a pattern in his eccentricity. Ken was in love with movies, he once told me that as a child he would see fifty films per week. I remember while filming mindbender in Israel, he would create a climate, an atmosphere, an ambiance, an energy in which he would allow the actors to operate & act. He was tough, strict – sometimes downright rude, but at the end of each day of filming, he became kind, lovely and a funny individual who loved his wine. I will dearly miss him.
So, thank you Ken for blessing our world with your gifts. Thanks to Einstein and E=MC2, we know that energy cannot be destroyed, and that energy and matter are just different states of the same thing, so as with all the people we lose, I believe that Ken has simply moved on to a better place, and wherever he is, I’m sure he is happy with all of the things he accomplished in his life.
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