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Terry Gilliam’s dark Christmas animation from 1968
09:09 am


Terry Gilliam
Christmas cards

Terry Gilliam’s Christmas card of 2011, as posted to his Facebook page.

Terry Gilliam moved to London in 1967 after having paid his dues on a cutting-edge satirical magazine in the United States called Help! that was run by former MAD honcho Harvey Kurtzman. Gilliam actually met John Cleese while at Help!, having created a fumetto (photographic cartoon) featuring the gangly Brit. While in London, Gilliam worked as an art director for London Life and eventually—famously—transitioned into doing cutout animations for TV shows. 

As Gilliam described it to Paul Wardle in an interview included in the informative volume Terry Gilliam: Interviews, he was lucky to meet a TV producer with an acute eye for illustrating talent:

John [Cleese] had established himself in television, and he introduced me to a guy named Humphrey Barclay, who was a producer. What he was producing at the time was a show called Do Not Adjust Your Set, a children’s show that Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Eric Idle were writing and performing. The great thing was that Humphrey was an amateur cartoonist. What he liked more than the written material that I was offering him were my cartoons. So he took pity on me and bought a couple of my written sketches, and forced them on Mike, Terry, and Eric, much to their chagrin, because it was their show. Then this loud-mouthed loud-dressing American turns up and starts invading their pitch.


In The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons Gilliam described his strategy for the assignment—important because this may have been the initial spark for his method, which would become much more widely known and admired when his animations turned up as the transitional bits in the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV shows as well as essential elements of all of the Python movies:

I went down to the Tate and they’ve got a huge collection of Victorian Christmas cards so I went through the collection and photocopied things and started moving them around. So the style just developed out of that rather than any planning being involved. I never analysed the stuff, I just did it the quickest, easiest way. And I could use images I really loved.

It’s astonishing how mature the style seems—almost fully formed, one might say. It’s difficult to detect any real difference between this animation, executed in 1968, and the many he did for Monty Python’s Flying Circus from 1969 to 1974.


Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Terry Gilliam animations that were left out of ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’
Terry Gilliam’s title sequence for ‘Cry of the Banshee’ (with Vincent Price) 1970

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Terry Gilliam animations that were left out of ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’

One of the key moments in the maturation of any young wiseacre is the first time he or she sees Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I’ve seen it 4 or 5 times for sure, and my appreciation for it has only grown over the years (I used to prefer Life of Brian, but I’ve reversed that).

There’s a new Blu-Ray edition of the movie that comes with, ahem, “catapult packaging and rubber farm animals,” and on it apparently, the fellows unearthed some Terry Gilliam animations that didn’t make the final cut of the movie, and then someone, probably Eric Idle, cajoled the visionary director of Brazil and Twelve Monkeys to free-associate over the footage.

The most meaty section of the featurette, which is embedded below, is “Terry Gilliam Introduces His Lost Animation Reel,” in which Gilliam somewhat morosely walks the viewer through some of this footage—that “moroseness” is halfway a kind of bit in the usual Python register of hifalutin silliness, but it’s also part and parcel of what seems to be an ingrained “Pshaw” sort of modesty or general inability to be impressed with himself, you know the kind of thing. Of watching the action unfold, Gilliam muses that “it sure beats me sitting talking about animation, something I know nothing about anymore.” After giving credit to the two women who were actually responsible for creating these lush images, Gilliam blurts, “I was the guy that just cut out the terrible little characters and pushed them around.”

Gilliam reveals that the Holy Grail animations were based on a book called Illustrations in the Margins of Medieval Manuscripts, which title doesn’t exist in Internet terms so perhaps Gilliam is misremembering the title. In any case, anyone who’s glimpsed the Book of Kells or other “illuminated manscripts” done by monks centuries ago will see the resemblance. At one point he plays a silly little song about King Arthur by Neil Innes that was also rejected from the final cut.

Gilliam points out that most of his animated bits really are about violence, but since the process of filming the stop-motion animations is so back-breakingly time-consuming, all the “action” takes place off-screen or, in this case, inside a snail’s enormous shell. He whines about not being compensated for this voice-over work, and pretends to prefer the idea of Python fans just sending him money directly, to the following address—but of course does not divulge that. (Naturally, right after that you hear the voice of Idle supposedly forking over some cash, complete with clinky gold coin sounds.) That leads to Gilliam in mock dudgeon: “I’m a famous film director! I don’t have to sit here talking to you people, who foolishly paid money for the same old crap!”

Hat tip to Henry Owings!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
1966 psychedelic Life Savers TV commercial by Terry Gilliam ?
Elvis Costello and Terry Gilliam shill for Philip K. Dick

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Feeding ‘Fear and Loathing’ to Google’s Deep Dream software

Google’s “Deep Dream” artificial intelligence system works (more or less) by subjecting (I guess that’s the right word) an image to a layer of artificial neurons which will build upon certain aspects of said image (like a surface or pattern or edges or color) to turn it into something that it previously wasn’t.

So people are uploading their faces or their dog’s face or… whatever and watching them morph into something… unexpected. It’s fun. Think of it as a kind of a surrealism generator. Or an acid trip you can take during your lunch break.

But what happens when you present Google’s “inceptionism” algorithm with an actual acid trip, or at least the cinematic depiction of an acid trip? Using what’s probably the very best representation of an acid trip ever committed to celluloid, a user on Github fed this dream monster a taste of Terry Gilliam’s 1998 adaptation of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Here are the nightmarish results… Heavy meta!

Via Gizmodo

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Elvis Costello and Terry Gilliam shill for Philip K. Dick

In the days just before the dawn of the World Wide Web, those wanting to prove the relevance of Philip K. Dick’s visionary books were likely to point to the prevalence of advertising everywhere and CNN’s coverage of the first Gulf War. More than twenty years later, in a world in which drones annihilate enemies of the American state, smartphones can decode spoken instructions, Netflix can accurately predict the next movie you want to watch, and so on, it would be folly to argue that Dick’s prescience has been any less than astounding.

In A Day in the Afterlife, a 1994 hour-long documentary made for the BBC series Arena on that great fucked-up writer, director Nicola Roberts employed a clever metaphor of a fictional product called “PKD,” complete with lightning-bolt corporate logo, to help illustrate the strongly artificial, alienating, and commercialized landscape of Dick’s works. The logo pops up at unpredictable intervals throughout the movie, and there are also cheeky “commercials” featuring Elvis Costello and Terry Gilliam as well as British novelist Fay Weldon.

Elvis Costello: “Featuring such classics as ‘Lies, Inc.,’ ‘The Man in the High Castle,’ ‘Ubik’.....”
I couldn’t find much evidence that Costello is a Dick-head (aside from his appearance in this very movie), but Gilliam’s enthusiasm for Dick’s books is well documented. (Unlike Costello, Gilliam consented to contribute a few more typical talking-heads bits.) In this 2008 interview with HitFix, Gilliam discussed his high regard for Dick’s work and his plans, never realized, to adapt Dick’s little-known 1956 novel The World Jones Made (Gilliam has the title slightly wrong):

Terry Gilliam: I mean, like, “Brazil”... I was even more determined it had to end that way because of “Blade Runner” having betrayed me at the ending.  I felt betrayed because I loved that until the end of the film.  Now all of a sudden, the android’s going to live forever?  What the fuck are you talking about, man?  You create a world that’s very solid, and then you… that’s why Philip K. Dick is always been one of my favorite writers.  He doesn’t go where that road takes you.

HitFix: I am convinced that someone will eventually make “The Man in the High Castle.”  There is such…

Gilliam: I’m actually meeting his daughter tomorrow.

HitFix: Are you?  Are you?  That is just a phenomenal book and so ripe in terms of the way it talks about how we process reality and the way we tell ourselves stories about history.  I think now is a great time to remind people of some of the things Phillip had to say.

Gilliam: One of the things that is… there’s another one that people don’t know called “The World According to Jones.” Do you know that one?

HitFix: Mm-hmm.

Gilliam: That really fascinates me… where we’re in a world where basically everything is relative.  It can’t be black and white because there’s a more religious fundamentalism that we’re talking about.  So now everything is relative.  And then the idea that a guy comes along that can see the future, and it is not relative… that intrigues me, and I don’t know exactly how to do it.  His other books… Ubik is always fun.  But again, so much of his stuff has been stolen already and used…

Obviously, the HitFix interviewer, one “Drew McWeeny,” was entirely correct that The Man in the High Castle would be adapted into a movie—earlier this year Amazon Prime dropped the pilot for a forthcoming miniseries based on the book. (As an aside, it’s wonderful that Dick’s greatness has been embraced by the Library of America, which in 2009 added Dick to its slate of great American authors like Whitman, Hawthorne, and Melville.)

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Terry Gilliam’s title sequence for ‘Cry of the Banshee’ (with Vincent Price) 1970
02:22 pm


Terry Gilliam
Monty Python
horror movies

Less than a year after the premiere of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on BBC, Terry Gilliam’s credit sequence for Gordon Hessler’s Cry of the Banshee was also presented to the world. For those of us who are more likely to think of a fleshy foot or perhaps “Conrad Poohs and His Dancing Teeth” as typical of Gilliam’s well-known cutout technique might be surprised to see it used to such different effect.

Cry of the Banshee was the second of three movies Hessler would make with Vincent Price in a span of two years; the others were The Oblong Box and Scream and Scream Again.

Among other things this represents Gilliam’s first-ever credit on a feature film, at least I could find nothing earlier on IMDb.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Stanley Kubrick wanted Terry Gilliam to direct a sequel to ‘Dr. Strangelove’

According to Todd Brown at Twitchfilm, an uncompleted outline for Son of Strangelove, a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s immortal 1964 Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, was found among the effects of the legendary screenwriter Terry Southern (Easy Rider, Barbarella) after his death in 1995. The story was set in the underground bunkers discussed in the infamous war room scene of the original film. As tantalizing as it is to wonder how such a film would have turned out had it indeed come to pass, it turns out that Kubrick had Monty Python refugee and great visionary of the dismal Terry Gilliam in mind to direct. Straight from Gilliam himself:

I was told after Kubrick died - by someone who had been dealing with him - that he had been interested in trying to do another Strangelove with me directing. I never knew about that until after he died but I would have loved to.

strangelove sellers
This is my face, just thinking about ‘Son of Strangelove.’

Just imagine the psycho-in-toyland wonders of an underground bunker for post-apocalypse elites as conceived by the deliriously inventive mind behind The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus! It’s sad that we’ll likely never know, but Gilliam fans still have something to look forward to. This winter will see the release of his new film The Zero Theorem, which, per the director in a recent Guardian interview, constitutes the third piece of a dystopian trilogy begun with his 1985 masterpiece Brazil and 1995’s mind bending time-travel drama 12 Monkeys.

The Zero Theorem has already screened to acclaim at the Venice Film Festival. Euronews featured a preview of the film prominently in this clip:

Bonus: Enjoy this lengthy interview with Gilliam from CBC Radio’s Q.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘All of my films have really been statements about America’: The wonderful world of Terry Gilliam

‘All of my films have really been statements about America, strangely enough,’ said director Terry Gilliam in this documentary about his work and career, made for The South Bank Show in 1991.

If you look closely at them, or I sit and try to describe them in some way, they’re all me reacting to that country I left. They’re seen through the eyes of somebody who lives in Britain, who’s been affected by this world, but they’ve all been messages in film cans back to America.

They’ve been disguised with the Middle Ages and the Eighteenth Century and everything, but it’s about that. This one [The Fisher King] has no disguise—that’s what’s interesting about it. It’s there, it’s naked, this is the world.

Gilliam concludes the interview by dismissing any possibility of complacency in light of the success of The Fisher King .

Let’s say this film is successful and America is going to offer me money, there will be that tendency to say, “Oh, I’ll make more like this.” It’s easier to make films like this because I don’t have the same battles and I hope the perverse side of my nature is still there to rescue me from this, because I think that’s what’s kept me going is the sheer perverseness and because the easy path is that way…(Makes hand gesture) [and] I don’t do it

I think I’ll know when I’m really middle-aged when I go that way. If the next film is an easy film—you know it’s over. You’ll know he’s middle-aged, he’s fat, he’s a slob, he’s given up the battle.

As if that is ever going to happen, Mr. Gilliam!

Watch Terry Gilliam’s latest film ‘The Wholly Family’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Legendary poet Christopher Logue reads: ‘I shall vote Labour’

In 1964, The British Labour Party was elected into government with a slim majority of 4 seats. Such a small majority made governing the country difficult for canny Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Therefore, after 17 months in power, Wilson called a second election. In support of winning re-election, the Labour Party’s magazine, Tribune asked a selection of writers and artists who they would vote for in the 1966 General Election. In response, sensing Labour might not hold to their socialist ideals, poet Christopher Logue wrote the poem “I shall vote Labour.”

I shall vote Labour

I shall vote Labour because
God votes Labour.
I shall vote Labour to protect
the sacred institution of The Family.
I shall vote Labour because
I am a dog.
I shall vote Labour because
upper-class hoorays annoy me in expensive restaurants.
I shall vote Labour because
I am on a diet.
I shall vote Labour because if I don’t
somebody else will:
I shall vote Labour because if one person
does it
everybody will be wanting to do it.
I shall vote Labour because if I do not vote Labour
my balls will drop off.
I shall vote Labour because
there are too few cars on the road.
I shall vote Labour because I am
a hopeless drug addict.
I shall vote Labour because
I failed to be a dollar millionaire aged three.
I shall vote Labour because Labour will build
more maximum security prisons.
I shall vote Labour because I want to shop
in an all-weather precinct stretching from Yeovil to Glasgow.
I shall vote Labour because
the Queen’s stamp collection is the best
in the world.
I shall vote Labour because
deep in my heart
I am a Conservative.

Christopher Logue was a poet, writer, journalist, dramatist, screenwriter, actor and performer. Born in Portsmouth, in 1926, Logue was an only child of middle-aged parents. After school, he served in the Black Watch regiment, from which he was given a court-martial for selling stolen pay books, and given a 16-months’ jail sentence.

On release, he moved to Paris and started his career as a writer and poet, ‘out of complete failure to be interested by what was happening in London at the time.’

‘It was so drab. There was nowhere to go. You couldn’t seem to meet any girls. If you went up to London in 1951, looking for the literary scene, what did you find? Dylan Thomas. I thought that if I came to the place where Pound flourished, I might too.’

In Paris, Logue met writer Alexander Trocchi (who saved Logue from an attempted suicide), and the pair set-up and edited the legendary literary magazine Merlin, which premiered work by Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Chester Himes, as well as Logue and Trocchi. The pair also wrote pornographic novels for Maurice Girodias’ Olympia Press, and briefly met William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso in the late 1950s.

George Whitman, propietor of Shakespeare and Co., described the pairing of Trocchi and Logue as:

‘True bohemians, Beats before Beats officially existed. Christopher was the scruffy poet, quite down and out most of the time. He definitely fancied himself as Baudelaire or somebody like that.’

In Paris, Logue toyed with Marxism, and was once famously put down by the author Richard Wright.

‘You’ve got nothing to fight for, boy—you’re looking for a fight. If you were a black, boy, you’re so cheeky you’d be dead.’

But Logue lost none of his mettle, or his socialist convictions and he continued to be a gadfly throughout his life. In the 1960s, he collaborated with Lindsay Anderson, giving poetry readings at the National Film Theater between features. He was a pacifist and a member of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, taking part with Bertrand Russell on the marches to Aldermarston.

He appeared at Peter Cook’s club The Establishment and wrote songs for jazz singer Annie Ross, and had one recorded by Joan Baez. He also appeared at the Isle of Wight Rock Festival, and contributed the wonderfully bizarre “True Stories” to Private Eye magazine. He acted for Ken Russell in The Devils, wrote the screenplay for Russell’s Savage Messiah, and acted in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky. Logue’s poetry was incredibly popular, even appearing in posters throughout the London Underground. His most famous works were Red Bird, a jazz colaboration with Tony Kinsey, and War Music, a stunning and critically praised adaption of Homer’s Illiad. He was awarded the 2005 Whitbread Poetry Prize for his collection Cold Calls.

Logue died in 2011, and Wilson won the 1966 election with a majority of 96 seats.

This is Christopher Logue reading “I shall vote Labour” in 2002, as filmed by Colin Still.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Terry Gilliam’s darkly humorous animated Christmas cards

An inspired bit of Christmas fun from Terry Gilliam. This originally aired in 1968 on the British TV show for kids, Do Not Adjust Your Set.

Gilliam was asked to prepare something for a special show to be broadcast on Christmas day, 1968, called Do Not Adjust Your Stocking. Looking for inspiration, he decided to visit the Tate Gallery. In The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons, Gilliam remembered the project and how it figured into his emerging artistic style:

“I went down to the Tate and they’ve got a huge collection of Victorian Christmas cards so I went through the collection and photocopied things and started moving them around. So the style just developed out of that rather than any planning being involved. I never analysed the stuff, I just did it the quickest, easiest way. And I could use images I really loved.”

Ho, ho, ho.

Via Open Culture

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
For your viewing pleasure: Three animated shorts by Terry Gilliam on his birthday
11:37 pm


Terry Gilliam

In addition to being Thanksgiving, today is Terry Gilliam’s birthday, which is plenty in of itself to be thankful for.

Here’s a short compilation of three groundbreakingly weird cartoons by Gilliam that were broadcast on British TV shows The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine and Do Not Adjust Your Set between 1968 and 1971.

“Don the Cockroach,” “The Albert Einstein Story” and “The Christmas Card.”

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Chris Marker: Director of ‘La Jetée’ has died

Chris Marker the influential French artist and film-maker has died aged 91. Marker died on his birthday, July 29th, which oddly reminded me of the time traveler in his 1962 film La Jetée who returns back in time only to see his own death at Orly Airport.

La Jetée is Marker’s best known work, which questioned the form of cinema, and the role within it of image, sound, editing and script. The film consisted of a series of still images, and one film sequence, which told the story of a post-apocalyptic world where a time traveler returns to the past to change the future. The film was the basis for Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys, and original conceit for James Cameron’s Terminator. Today, French President Francois Hollande led tributes to Marker, saying La Jetée “will be remembered by history.”

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve on July 29th, 1921, Marker was vague about his biography, preferring to mislead and fictionalize elements of his story. He variously claimed he was born in Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine, and Outer Mongolia. Marker never gave interviews, and refused to be photographed, though in later years pictures were secretly taken.

Marker was studying philosophy when the Second World War broke out, he served with the French Resistance, after the war he wrote a novel, Le Coeur Net (1949), joined the left-leaning magazine Esprit, contributing to poems, stories, and co-wrote the film column with André Bazin. He then wrote for Cahiers du Cinéma, before starting the globe trotting that would continue for the rest of his life, photographing and documenting his many excursions.

Marker’s first experimental film was a documentary on the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He then worked with Alain Resnais on Les Statues Meurent Aussi, a hugely controversial film dealing with colonialism and art, which was banned in France on the grounds it attacked French foreign policy. Marker was a Marxist and his politics informed much of his work. However, Marker could be critical of Soviet Russia as he was of the west. In Letter from Siberia (1958), he famously critiqued Soviet and Western propaganda by showing the same piece of film three times, reporting it twice through East/West propaganda, and finally, ‘telling it like it is.’

Durng the 1950s, he also started a series of photographic books, one in particular on Korean women, developed Marker’s idiosyncratic style of mixing image and text, which possibly inspired the form of La Jetée.

Marker followed La Jetée with the less successful Le Joli Mai (1962), a 150 minute film made up from almost 60 hours of interview material on the lives, loves and politics of Parisians. He was then involved in establishing Société pour le Lancement des Oeuvres Nouvelles (SLON), which made collectively directed films and documentaries. Their first film was on Vietnam, and continued with the style of documentary Marker had devised with Le Joli Mai.

During the 1970s, Marker seemed to lose his way, making films about the politics of previous generations rather than the issues of feminism, sex, and personal liberty, that were central to the decade. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Marker returned to form with the cinematic essay, Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985), a documentary on Akira Kurosawa, making his epic movie Ran.

Marker continued working through his seventies and eighties and began developing a more personal and intimate style of film-making, focussing on his pets and zoo animals,  creating his own bestiary.

Chris Marker wrote with the camera - his best works told cinematic essays that mixed the personal with the social and political.

Chris Marker (Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve), July 29 1921 - July 29 2012

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Chris Marker: ‘Bestiare’ from 1990


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Discovering Dad: Terry Gilliam’s daughter uncovers her father’s artworks

I probably owe Terry Gilliam money. I nicked his book Animations of Mortality when I was a kid as I wanted to improve my skills at drawing cartoons. Gilliam’s work was a big influence, (along with Ronald Searle and Ralph Steadman), and I spent hours perusing the pages of my pilfered goods, learning how to create art from a Master

What joy, therefore, to find Mr Gilliam’s daughter Holly has started a blog uncovering her father’s brilliant work, uploading discoveries on an almost daily basis.

Since October last year, Holly has undertaken this mammoth task of organizing her father’s archive:

....all his work from pre-Python days, as a cartoonist, photojournalist & assistnat editor for Help! magazine, through all his original artwork and cut-outs for Python animation, posters, logos and generally everything Python, to his storyboards, designs and sketches for his feature films and other non-film related projects (including his opera of “Faust” and that infamous Nike commercial).  Why!? Because I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by my father’s amazing work all my life and I think it should be seen by everyone so I am organising the archive so it can eventually be put in a book and an exhibition.

Holly is to be commended for this fabulous undertaking and I’m more than delighted she is sharing her father’s spectacular art works, and am now certainly willing to cough up the five quid owing on the book.

See more of this on-going project at Discovering Dad aka delving into Terry Gilliam’s personal archive. Or, follow Holly on twitter for updates. All images copyright Terry Gilliam.
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Terry Gilliam: How he made stop-frame animations in his bedroom

Bonus Gilliam’s Monty Python illustration, after the jump…
Via Laughing Squid

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Terry Gilliam: How he made stop-frame animation in his bedroom

Now this is delightful. Terry Gilliam has always seen the world differently. One of his fellow Pythons (Michael Palin?) said Gilliam described the world through his own particular language. Once, while flying over the Atlantic Ocean, Gilliam looked out of the window and remarked, “Wow, a whole bunch of water.” It’s wrong, but it’s also wonderfully right.

Gilliam (along with Ronald Searle and Ralph Steadman) was a major influence on my mis-spent doodling career, not for the illustrative style but for his uniquely original approach to animation and story-telling, where stories didn’t have to be linear, or have endings, and ideas counted for more than punchlines.

Here is Gilliam, looking like a hot young film star, in the studio of his Putney home (actually his spare back bedroom), explaining how he put together his famous “Fig Leaf” animation, from 1970.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

British TV 1974: The secret teachings of Terry Gilliam

With thanks to Nellym

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Chris Marker: ‘Bestiaire’ from 1990

Chris Marker‘s Bestiaire, three short video haiku:

Bestiaire 1. Chat écoutant la musique
Bestiaire 2. An owl is An owl is an owl
Bestiaire 3. Zoo Piece

Simple meditations that reveal a more intimate side to the enigmatic director, best known for La jetée (1962) (which later inspired Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys) and Sans Soleil (1983). Marker has said of his work:

‘The process of making films in communion with oneself, the way a painter works or a writer, need not now be solely experimental. Contrary to what people say, using the first-person in films tends to be a sign of humility: All I have to offer is myself.’

Now in his nineties, Marker the “mercurial international man of semiotic mystery” continues to work, details of which can be found here.

More animal haiku, plus bonus documentary, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ken Russell: A documentary tribute to his life and work

There was an interesting letter in that scurrilous rag, the Daily Mail yesterday, printed under the headline, “Let Ken’s movies inspire a new audience”. It was written by Paul Sutton, of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, who gave a passionate plea for the BBC to stop using edited clips of Ken Russell’s early TV work to liven-up crap shows made by today’s lesser talented directors:

These Ken Russell films aren’t entertainment fit only for ‘found footage’. They’re films, works of very real cinema in which every frame,pictorial composition, cut and music cue has been thought through with a craftsman’s hand and an artist’s mind and eye. They constitute a body of work which stands with the best of any director working anywhere in the world between 1959 and 1970.

Mr. Sutton went on to explains how both Lindsay Anderson, in If…, and Stanley Kubrick, in A Clockwork Orange, lifted from Russell’s TV work, and concludes:

Every one of Ken Russell’s 35 BBC films displays the master’s art. We should be boasting about them and using them to inspire the next Lindsay Anderson, the next Stanley Kubrick and the next Ken Russell.

I for one, certainly do hope the BBC listen up and release all of Ken Russell’s TV films for all of us to enjoy, very soon.

Most recently, the Beeb made this fine documentary Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil , and while it doesn’t cover all of the great, genius director’s work (no Savage Messiah, no Crimes of Passion, no Salome’s Last Dance) it does manage to show why Ken Russell was England’s greatest film director of the last 50 years, and one of the world’s most important film directors of the twentieth century.

Presneted by Alan Yentob, this documentary tribute includes interviews with Glenda Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Twiggy, Melvyn Bragg, Amanda Donohoe, Robert Powell and Roger Daltrey.

Read Paul Sutton’s blog on Ken Russell, Lindsay Anderson and Stanley Kubrick here.

With thanks to Unkle Ken Russell
More on L’enfant terrible Msr. Russell, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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