Directed by Ken Russell | UK | 107 mins.
In 1971, British cinema’s wild man Ken Russell decided to adapt Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon, detailing chronicles of religious hypocrisy and political chicanery in 17th century France. In doing so, Russell ended up fashioning his most legendary, fiery and searing excursion into his riveting and confrontational baroque style.
Licentious priest Father Grandier (Oliver Reed), a man of great faith and great sensual appetites, is the only man in France who stands in the way of Cardinal Richelieu’s power-hungry attempts to fully control France. When Richelieu learns of a repressed nun’s (played by Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave) unrequited erotic infatuation with the priest, he realizes the horrifyingly perfect opportunity to see the last obstacle in his pursuit of complete domination destroyed. Ken Russell fashioned what he called “my only political film” in this unforgettable and ferocious account of how society can completely crumble under the weight of oppressive ideological power games, and how sometimes, no man can stand in its way.
- Written by Scott Lang