Screenings of Ken Russell’s Tommy will honor movie-critic Ken Hanke’s life

Lisi Russell, Ken Hanke and Ken Russell at the 2005 Asheville Film Festival

When long-time Mountain Xpress movie critic Ken Hanke passed away in late June, the Asheville film community lost an irreplaceable asset. In honor of Ken and his contributions to cinematic culture and criticism, his favorite film, Ken Russell’s Tommy, will be screened three times at the Fine Arts Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Shows start at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m., with a limited number of reserved seats available for the 7:30 screening.

Lisi Russell, widow of Tommy’s director Ken Russell, and one of Ken Hanke’s closest friends, will introduce the 4 and 7:30 screenings and share her fond memories of Ken. In addition to Tommy, the Fine Arts will screen at all three shows A Dream Unbound, a rarely screened short film by Ken Hanke, shot in his youth.

It should be noted that this is not a memorial service, and Ken would have abhorred any weeping, wailing or rending of garments on his behalf. Rather, this event is intended to be a celebration of Ken’s life and legacy, not a moment of mourning or meditation on mortality.

Seating at the 7:30 screening is expected to be very limited, as the majority of seats are being held for family and friends. No admission will be charged at any screening, thanks to the generosity of the Fine Arts Theater. Reservations for the 7:30 show can be made via

Join those touched by Ken’s life and work in honoring the memory of a titan who passed too soon. There can be no better way to celebrate Ken Hanke than to see his favorite film — as he would’ve wanted it to be shown: on the big screen and properly projected from a pristine DCP.


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2 thoughts on “Screenings of Ken Russell’s Tommy will honor movie-critic Ken Hanke’s life

  1. Wonderful! I didn’t know Ken but we both love the other Ken and Lisi told this Ken was a very lovely person.
    Enjoy the screenings everyone!

  2. Paul Sutton

    Ken Hanke was a true champion. A vital pioneer in film appreciation. His writings will endure . He is much missed.

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