What We’re Watching – The Devils (1971)
Directed & Written by Ken Russell
Staring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave
Set Design by Derek Jarman
Sam: Outside of the fact that this is a phenomenal film and resonates in terms of its take on politics and power, what struck me this time was how timeless it all feels.
Natalie: I wonder how much of its timelessness comes from the fact that the movie isn’t widely available, so it’s harder to place.
Jeff: Period drama is like Sci-Fi in that by trying to represent a different time, it usually ends up being very specifically of its time
Sam: The haircuts in Star Wars.
Connor: Laurence Olivier’s Henry the Fifth.
Sam: Russell was explicit in wanting to highlight the modernity of the film and he clung to the Huxley quote about it taking place in a ‘public lavatory’. Jarman’s set design is ridiculously next level. The combo of the costumes with these giant, tiled structures and geometry.
Connor: Derek Jarman is the MVP.
Natalie: I think the essential thing about period drama is usually you’re making these movies to directly comment about the contemporary situation in a way you can’t if it’s more specific. They’re always about now.
Jeff: Famously there were no politics in the olden days.
Sam: This is a film where the walls are good and the bad guys want to knock them down. Different times…