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Ken Russell later films


Ken Russell Mindbener Uri Geller

"One of the landmarks of Russell's decline. Still has some scenes the less talented directors would sell their soul for" (Sergey Nekrasov blog entry, Letterboxd, click here).

 

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Mindbender from 1995.  If you are interested in bending spoons this is one of the best films on the subject. The life story of Uri Geller.

The credits begin with "the following events are true and are interpreted through the artistic eye of Ken Russell".  Uri's father and lover dance on top of an Israeli tank beside a 3-dimensional Dali-clock.  The child Uri pulls a bullet out of a wall (the six day war recurs in the film) and when he holds it in his hand it turns into a ring.

Ken Russell Mindbender

Ken Russell Mindbender

Ken Russell Mindbender

When his teacher tells Uri to stay in class until the hands of the clock reach half past four, of course young Uri has no problems moving the hands and leaving early. But this sort of thing is really banal and the films comes over as a paid-for vanity film for Uri Geller.  There is a silly spy plot and Geller seems to save the world from nuclear war.

For the benefit of this page I watched the film again. It does not improve with repeated viewing. Also my watch stopped.

Mindbender  Mindbender

"As with most of Kenís 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" (Uri Geller, from his website, click here).
 



People

Ken Russell Mindbender - the father   Ken Russell Mindbender - the mother

Ishai Golan plays Uri Geller.  A shallow insincere performance, so probably true to life.  Above the domineering father and the loving mother played by Rafi Tabor Aviva Yoel.

Terence Stamp in Mindbender 

Terence Stamp adds some badly needed acting ability. Hetty Baynes (Ken's wife) seems to have the role of an intelligent bimbo, though some genuine intelligence comes over.

Hetty Baynes in Ken Russel's Mindbender

Music consists of recordings such as Elton John's Rocket Man and The Moody Blues Nights in White Satin, both of which fit well.  Editors are Ken's son Xavier Russell and John Orland, cinematography is by Hong Manley who worked on four other films for Ken such as Classic Widows.   The script is co-written by Ken and Yael Stern (I guess Stern wrote the original script, and Ken adapted it while filming).

Uri Geller in Mindbender 

Ken Russell Mindbender

Geller himself also appears. If you buy the video it will change your life since you can have your broken watches and clocks repaired (just hold them as Uri talks). Uri also wants to touch you, so put your hand to the screen and touch his- feel it!! Geller is not very convincing as he pretends the rubbish is true.
 



Best Image

Ken Russell Mindbender

Ken Russell Mindbender

Ken Russell Mindbender

The black swings on the white beach, genuinely haunting images in a boring film.
 



Best Scene

Ken Russell Mindbender 

The child Uri eating soup when his spoon bends is reasonably funny.  The child Uri about to be beaten and falling backwards among the tailors dummies.

Ken Russell Mindbender




Themes

Ken Russell Mindbender  Ken Russell Mindbender

A kite (as in Elgar) bursts into flame just like the hut in Mahler.  There is more fire as Uri (in a dream) walks through a wall of fire over a minefield.  And earth as Uri digs a pit.
 

Ken Russell Mindbender

Sensory deprivation with a cheap version of Tommy's torture device.
 



Films

Other films released in the same year include The English Patient, Shine and Trainspotting.

The English Patient  Shine  Trainpotting

 

More films

Click title for film French Dressing * Billion Dollar Brain * Women in Love * The Music Lovers* The Devils * The Boy Friend * Savage Messiah * Mahler * Tommy * Lisztomania * Valentino * Altered States * Crimes of Passion * Gothic * Aria * The Lair of the White Worm * Salome's Last Dance * The Rainbow * Whore

 

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