Poll

What's your favorite film by Nicolas Roeg?

Performance
1 (3.6%)
Walkabout
7 (25%)
Don't Look Now
6 (21.4%)
The Man Who Fell to Earth
6 (21.4%)
Bad Timing
0 (0%)
Eureka
1 (3.6%)
Insignificance
0 (0%)
Castaway
0 (0%)
Track 29
0 (0%)
The Witches
0 (0%)
Cold Heaven
0 (0%)
Heart of Darkness
0 (0%)
haven't seen any
4 (14.3%)
don't like any
3 (10.7%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 27

Author Topic: Roeg, Nicolas  (Read 2640 times)

1SO

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Re: Roeg, Nicholas
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2016, 10:27:22 PM »
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
* * * 1/2
Few people are as well-suited to playing a person not of this Earth as David Bowie. Here, he not only proves how perfect he is for that role, the role itself is so bizarre, as is the film, that it allows Bowie to be the greatest possible version of an alien on Earth. The movie itself is so unusual, such a product of the hyper-experimental 70s filmmaking, that Bowie ends up being the sturdy anchor to Nicholas Roeg's operatic carnival of the abstract.

Unlike Ken Russell, who is often weird for weirdness sake, Roeg casts a dreamlike spell with his imagery. Much of the film is of a type you wouldn't connect to my tastes. Scenes exist to leave an impression rather than make a point. The story is epic, but it develops so indirectly there are times you may feel it's slipping into incomprehension. However, that allows events to unfold like many small boxes filled with surprises. There's no telling which way things will go next. When it gets to the sex scene where the couple is getting off firing a gun towards each other while making love, it seems refreshingly normal in the moment.

Bowie keeps it centered and he plays it sad. He doesn't need to play up the action because his wild red hair and pale, fragile features are unworldly enough. (He looks too brittle to hold up under his situation.) He is Dorothy and we are the land of Oz, constantly offering him booze and sex and television, wearing down his resistance. He slowly gives up his dream until he becomes like us, a depressed, heavy drinker. Domesticated man.
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verbALs

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Re: Roeg, Nicholas
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2016, 11:18:43 AM »
Hi! ;D

My responses to what you wrote above were such a muddle they never turned into a coherent sentence. They were a part of the following half thoughts all mixed up;

- When I think of Ken Russell I think of Women in Love, The Devils and Altered States so I only see him as an underrated great director....
- Insignificance is really good but I saw it years ago....
- Did Roeg direct Insignificance? Oh.....
- I need to watch "The Man Who.." again. Feels like I saw it at school..."
- "Andy Warhol-hol-hol. As in HOLS"...

So nothing substantial.  ;D


I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

1SO

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Re: Roeg, Nicholas
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2016, 01:27:55 PM »
- When I think of Ken Russell I think of Women in Love, The Devils and Altered States so I only see him as an underrated great director....
The Devils and Altered States are my Top 2. Women in Love is next on my Watchlist for Russell, so this is good.

Looking at Roeg's filmography, it seems there was a moment in time when his approach almost meshed with the mainstream. It forms a nice trilogy with Walkabout, Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth. After that he returned to a style that matched his debut, Performance.

I saw Insignificance back in the 80s, found it all rather ridiculous.
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1SO

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2018, 10:16:07 PM »
Updated Rankings
 
Eureka (1983)
★  
I don't know which level of Bonkers to describe to keep this short. What starts as an Alaskan gold strike drama quickly moves to a sunny island for the rest of the film. The Alaskan section is the best part, though at the time I was hoping for it to improve. (Surreal imagery is like the last gasp of peak Roeg while the drama has the tense silences of There Will Be Blood.) Largely bland in the middle before a really bad courtroom finale that puts everything onto Theresa Russell, who I always thought was a really bad actress who could occasionally get by. It was good to see Gene Hackman growling again, but he's not in the film enough and seems lost as to why that is.


Track 29 (1988)

Theresa Russell again, and butchering an accent this time. There's a great part for young Gary Oldman, he plays a fantasy man who's Russell's aborted child and her dream lover. (You read that right.) He pretty much gets to do whatever he wants, which had me interested for a time, but Roeg's direction... I'm used to not understanding what he's going for, but I don't think he had much of an idea this time. There's a great final shot but that's after the realization this is a waste of production budget and film stock.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2018, 11:14:46 PM »
I can't stand Theresa Russell at all.
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Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2018, 05:44:44 AM »
The Man Who Fell To Earth, 80
Don't Look Now, 80
Walkabout, 70
The Sound Of Claudia Schiffer, 35

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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2019, 06:47:05 AM »
I am going to get started with the mini-marathon of The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don't Look Now, and Walkabout. What I am putting below I see as a starting point (and I need to get something down so I do not keep dragging this out) on my comments about The Man Who Fell to Earth.

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976 Nicolas Roeg)

This is a classic 70s sci fi (by rep anyway) and it has a key element of the sci fi of the 70s (prior to Star Wars), that element being a rather bleak world view. It is has definitely been influenced by Tarkovsky's Solaris.

David Bowie makes an excellent alien, his slightly androgynous look combined with his general otherworldliness work.

Still despite its bleakness and its influences and Bowie, this film is a mess. A barely coherent mess. It lurches from scene to scene, up and down its timeline with very little
to help you work out where in the timeline it is, or even why things have happened (or not). Some research into what the story is about, or multiple viewing are likely to help you
understand what is going on (maybe).

Am I being too harsh, maybe.

Rating: 65 /100

Despite the review I am ready to update my view, based on being convinced by others view.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 06:51:46 AM by Dave the Necrobumper »

1SO

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2019, 10:21:59 AM »
My thought of classic 70s sci fi is a film that likes to show you something is going on, but doesn't want to tell you what's happening. I also take this from Tarkovsky, but also from Roeg. Films today frequently stop the flow of action to explain every event, but 70s sci fi show the perils of doing the opposite.

In this way, welcome to Nicholas Roeg, and on the scale of narrative coherence this falls somewhere in the middle of his filmography. I could name a half-dozen titles where you couldn't use the modifier "barely". Luckily the other two films we have to watch fall on the more coherent side, though they have their moments. I've seen two different versions of this film, three if you consider my first experience was an unformatted VHS tape. (Try following the story with a third of the image lopped off.) The only difference I can recognize is that the longer version has more sex, one of which involves a gun.

This is my favorite film by Roeg perhaps because the really good stuff intrigues me to return, and I've unraveled a little more of the narrative mystery each time. There are still scenes where I'm not sure what's happening, but there are surprisingly few at this point. My biggest question is why students would see Rip Torn as such a stud.

Were you able to watch David Bowie and NOT think of Tilda Swinton? I just cant imagine this not being her Hamlet.

My favorite moment in the film is Bowie sitting in his chair losing himself to the wall of televisions. The modern comforts have him completely distracted from his real purpose and turned him into a depressed, drinking, domesticated man. His own drive to return home has weakened as he's become infected by the earthlings he initially felt superior to.
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2019, 07:07:19 AM »
Definitely agree with your view of classic 70s sci fi.

The version I saw had the gun sex scene. I will say this about Roeg, that while more women were naked on screen, he did not shy away from nude men either.

Walkabout is still far and away my favourite Roeg (of the 2 I have seen), but I can see how many viewings of this film could be very rewarding.

Nope I did not think Tilda Swinton, but now you mention it she would be a good fit. In someways she has already played the role in Orlando. I say that in part because while those around him age, Bowie does not.

I find it harder to justify the premise that Bowie is tempted by the comforts of Earth, as he is still distant, and there is little shown of him being driven to succeed. There is some, but it is just not strongly portrayed. This makes is apparent succumbing to temptation less real. Also the rocket non-launch scene was very hard to follow, did he try and fail, or what.

One thing I do really like about the film is the need and want to think about it. It is not a strong feeling, but it is there.

I was probably a bit harsh with my rating, but it will stand for now.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Roeg, Nicolas
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2019, 07:08:48 AM »
I notice that Don't Look Now is on the Criterion streaming service at the moment, it will shortly be time to have a trial I think. Just have to hope it will accept me.

Is anyone else going to join us?