Mahler (1974, Ken Russell)
Maybe I’m just a sucker for the music. I dunno, there’s so much that works here for me that the segments that don’t — including one really bizarre tasteless Early Woody Allen sketch of Mahler submitting himself, surreally, to the anti-Semite Cosima Wagner — kinda don’t matter, especially when the ending is so sweet.
Love the choreography of music and action — such a strong sense for the sweep of the music.
Things to remember for future use:
1) A slow hand-operated zoom (that’s not trying to fake ‘documentary’ style) — feels homemade, feels nervous, feels trepidatious.
2) The climax — a relatively locked-off, 70mm two-shot of Gustav and Alma on the train. Beautifully acted, beautifully earnest stuff.
3) The scene in which Alma makes the world around the Mahler’s country estate “quiet” in order for Gustav to work. Again, choreography of sound and image — the vertiginous shots of traditional folk dance, the zoom into bells of a church bleeding into chimes in Mahler’s music. The match cuts in and out of some of the flashback or fantasy sequences.