Nominated at Cannes for the Palme d'Or in 1974, Mahler is unquestionably one of Ken Russell's most beautiful movies.
The story takes place in 1911, shedding light on the last days of Gustav Mahler. Mahler was fifty when he conducted his last concert at the New York Philharmonic, of which he had been the musical director since 1909. When he was composing his Tenth Symphony, he fell seriously ill. Extremely weakned, he came back to Paris to get treatment, before passing away on May 18, 1911.
In Mahler, Ken Russell uses a lot of flashbacks, showing a poor child suffering from his father's anger; a young musician frustrated by antisemetism and about to convert to catholicism; a husband tough with his wife whom he cherishes a lot; and a caring and loving father devastated by the death of his daughter.
A TV-Essay on Gustav Mahler by and with Leonard Bernstein including excerpts from Mahler's symphonies and song cycles