Lisztomania (1975)

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Lisztomania (1975) Poster

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey) attempts to overcome his hedonistic life-style while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner (Paul Nicholas).


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8 December 2002 | gnosticboy
A Tour-de-Force of Pop-surrealism, and surgery
To many, this film is the stunning-proof that Ken Russell never

had it, that idiocy and egoism were mistaken for genius. This

belief is unfounded. Is this film over-indulgent? Yes it is, dear

readers, very-much-so, because it is art, not entertainment. That- said, if you chuck any-expectations, this is a funny film and allegory

about the rise of pop-culture in the 19th Century, and the parallels

with the other generally-hollow spectacle known as "rock." This is

great film-making, and it should be noted that it has similarities

between itself and "Rocky Horror," and even "Hedwig," as they all

examine and explore the relationships between sexuality and pop- culture in similar-areas. It is also an odd bridge-between "classic"

rock and the emergent punk-movement of the time. It can also be

seen as a statement that "rock" is not really subversive, or

rebellious at-all, but ultimately "arch-conservative," and repressive.

Ironically (or maybe-not!), Mr. Russell had contracted Malcolm

McCalren and Vivienne Westwood to design S&M-costumes for

his film, "Mahler." It should also-be-noted that "Listz-o-Mania" was

released exactly the same year that McClaren's shop "SEX"

opened on King's Row, the rest is as they say... Basically-put, this

is about the the ins-and-outs of "why" we want and need pop- culture, and WHAT we generally-want from our "pop-idols" (sex, of- course). One could easily-say this film criticizes the absurd- spectacle that rock had-become by 1975, and we get this quite- often in the film, but it goes much-deeper, into the relationship- between artist and patron. The sexuality is about mass- psychology, too, so we get-a-nod towards Wilhelm Reich, and lots

of Freud. It is certainly a very-personal film for Russell, and

probably amuses him as much as it does myself that it enrages

so-many people who simply do-not get it... SO WHERE IS THE DVD, WARNER BROTHERS? WHERE IS THE UNCUT-VERSION OF "THE DEVILS?" WE REALLY WANT-IT, WE"RE OUT-HERE.

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