Michael Powell's last film, Age of Consent, features a young Helen Mirren | Fall Preview | Chicago Reader

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Michael Powell's last film, Age of Consent, features a young Helen Mirren

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Shot in luscious color around the Great Barrier Reef, the final feature (1969) by British director Michael Powell (who with Emeric Pressburger codirected such classics as The Red Shoes and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp) returns to Chicago in a 35-millimeter print. James Mason stars as a frustrated artist who moves to a small island off the east coast of Australia in hopes of rekindling his passion for painting. He discovers his muse in the form of a free-spirited teenage girl who lives on the island (Helen Mirren), and Powell charts their blossoming relationship with sensitivity and earthy humor. Martin Scorsese, a lifelong admirer of Powell, has said of this life-affirming comedy: "For years before and after they made the film, Powell and Mason tried to get a version of The Tempest off the ground, and in fact there are strong echoes of The Tempest in Age of Consent. There's a sense of magic and color and the power of the natural world. . . . It's about the singular vision, the passion, the obsession of the artist to continue to create; I think this, distilled down, is the Powell-Pressburger cinema."

Sat 9/19-Sun 9/20, 11:30 AM, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6607, musicboxtheatre.org, $8.

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