Film Festival : NICHOLAS ROEG: OBSESSION AND DESIRE

All films have a start, middle and end. But for British filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, there were never any rules stipulating that they had to appear on the screen in that order. Time in a Roeg film is as malleable as putty, changing shape and altering form. A seemingly simple tale such as Walkabout (1971), detailing the journey undertaken by two children in the Australian Outback, becomes a compelling portrait of endurance, emphasised by the way that Roeg breaks up the journey with his playful editing. That approach to piecing a film together had already been taken to extremes by Roeg in his directorial debut – with Donald Cammell – ‘Performance’ (1970), a study in psychopathy starring James Fox and Mick Jagger.

This retrospective includes both of those ground-breaking films, alongside the filmmaker’s 1976 pop culture classic ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, starring David Bowie. That film followed the haunting, near-perfect Daphne Du Maurier adaptation ‘Don’t Look Now’ (1973), a powerful study in grief set amidst the unsettling wintry environs of Venice. The retrospective is completed by the two other classics that followed the director’s collaboration with Bowie, ‘Bad Timing’ (1980) and ‘Eureka’ (1983). Both are landmarks in a superb career and helped define Roeg as one of the finest filmmakers of his generation.