Poor old Nicolas Roeg. With the possible exception of Ken Russell, is there another British director whose critical stature has declined so precipitously in the '80s and '90s? From his early flamboyant and sensual films like Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth and even Bad Timing, Roeg has of late faltered in many of his films. The Witches aside (and even it is hampered by an unconvincingly upbeat ending), there hasn't been a fully-realized film from Roeg since 1982's Eureka. After the commercial and intensely hostile critical drubbing he took on that film, Roeg's films have felt hamstrung, as if the director didn't really believe in himself anymore.
On the other hand, commercial and critical tastes have so lined up behind Reaganite entertainment values over the last 17 years that perhaps it's not Roeg that we should be blaming. The antithesis of cinema as spectacle, Roeg's films don't give us the easy connections and motivations that most hand out to their audiences these days. That his are determinedly unliterary both in their structure and their thinking has always been problematic, but never so much as in these straight-jacketed times when a film like The English Patient can pass itself off as art cinema.
D. Christensen in his introduction to Walkabout
Nicholas Roeg Biography
Nicolas Roeg was born in London on 15 August 1928. He entered the industry in the late 1940s and eventually became a camera operator in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s, he graduated to director of photography and, in this capacity, worked with Richard Lester (Petulia), Francois Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451), and Roger Corman (Masque of the Red Death). He started a second career as director in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He shared the director credit with Donald Cammell on controversial Performance (1970), starring Mick Jagger and James Fox, and continued to work with such as Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie (both in Don't Look Now, 1973) and David Bowie (The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1976). Roeg is known for his striking visual and experimental cinematic style: for example, applying to editing his films the cut-up technique developed by the writers William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin (who were in their turn inspired by Surrealists). Nicolas Roeg's wife is actress Theresa Russell, who has already starred in five of her husband's films.
Nicolas Roeg Filmography
Nicolas Roeg Bibliography
Cinema: Directors | Cinema Main Page
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