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The finest satire and the finest camp intersect at the point where the artist stands completely outside of the subject of his art, mocking the mocker and thereby exposing the entire continuity of the subject and its context as a fraud.

Ken Russell was a master of telling stories from that point of view, and in so doing, simultaneously celebrated and castigated Cathars, Romantics, Aesthetes, Flappers, Hippies, New Agers, and all weekend revolutionaries by spoofing himself.

I haven't watched a Russell film since he played himself playing himself in that reprehensible The Russia House, where a denture-encumbered ex-Bond played alongside a Nagel print whose only talent was the ability to cry on cue. A low point for everyone involved, especially John Le Carré.

But I'm going to dig something out tonight to remember the old bugger by. Hmm? What will it be? Tommy Tune and Twiggy play hurting games behind the set of The Boyfriend in a P.G. Woodehouse version of the twenties? An ancient cult of dragon-sacrifice in Scotland? Byron, his squeeze, and the Shelleys get stoned on a stormy night and dream up Frankenstein? Oscar Wilde and the callous mercenary cruelty of Victorian England? Or will it be the eternally-sexy Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed in this:



Farewell, Mr. Russell. May bands of inappropriately-dressed exhibitionists sing thee to thy rest.

ETA: Just finished watching The Devils. I had forgotten just how visually superb so many of the scenes are; very reminiscent of the painting of the time. And just how horrible the soundtrack was. And how much Witchhunter Barry looked like this Barry about the time I last saw the film. Even down to the glasses, lips, and Warren Zevon haircut. *cringe*