Director Nicolas Roeg, best known for his ambitious hypnotic and formal films in the 1970s Walkabout. Do not look now, and The man who fell on the earth, died at the age of 90, reports the New York Times. No cause of death was given.
Roeg, who spent decades in the film industry before directing his own movies, began his teenage career at Marleybone Studios in 1947. In the 1950s, he made his way to the department of the room and has climbed a row over the decade a clamshell charger, focusing sprayer and camera operator, leaping to the photo director after working on the 1962 David Lean's secondary unit Lawrence of Arabia. In the 1960s, he filmed films for directors such as Roger Corman (The red death mask), François Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451) and Richard Lester (A funny thing happened on the way to the forum; Petula).
In an interview in 1974, Roeg talked about the difficulty he was facing in the direction:
When I first started, I wanted to be a filmmaker and it seemed to me that the road to the film was to take care of a room. Then suddenly you realize that you are inside a business; and that to make movies you have to have a job. Everything was very secluded and very similar to an industry: it was an industry. Then, since I served my apprenticeship and wanted to make my own movies, the industry itself has entered another scene. "Do it! It does not matter if you know something or not!" Which is wonderful. But that did not happen earlier and I was stuck at a point where the reaction was, "Oh, well, he could not do it because he is a cameraman."
Roeg finally made the jump in 1968, co-direction Performance with Donald Cammell. The film, with Mick Jagger and James Fox in a Cammell script, was overturned by Warner Bros. brass before being sent to theaters by a new studio regime, after Variety described "a long history of delays, shelves, reeditations and only despair." Derided by the critical setting of his time, Performance has gradually grown through repertoire screenings in the 1980s and 1990s and is now recognized as a landmark in the British film.
Roeg made solo-directorial efforts in the same process much faster. Walkabout, an Australian film about a flicker in the region, screened at Cannes in 1971 and was savage in newspapers and simultaneously lionized in film magazines on the road to classical status. A few weeks after Vincent Canby appeared in 1973 Do not look now in the New York Times, Stephen Farber published Roeg's review on the same pages, calling him "the most subtle and sophisticated horror movie ever created." With Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie – and presenting the two in an explicit sexual scene a minor scandal during the day –Do not look now filter a Daphne du Maurier thriller through Roeg's non-linear editing to explore the pain, memory and red color.
Do not look now was probably Roeg's most influential film, and his echoes can be found everywhere Outside the visual range to Flatliners and Casino Royale. (That's 2006 Casino Royale; Roeg had a more direct influence on the spoof version of 1967 as one of his cinemas.) In 1976, Roeg launched The man who fell on Earth, a film staring with David Bowie as a stranger, who quickly achieved the same cult status Performance, previous collaboration with a rock star. It was not his last year: the 80s Bad sync has mated Art Garfunkel with Theresa Russell, Roeg's second wife. During the 1980s, Roeg collaborated with Russell on several films before the marriage ended by divorce. Quite unclear, for a director known for horror, explicit sex and nonlinear editing, his latest studio film was an adaptation of Roald Dahl in 1990 witches for Warner Bros., the same studio that remained Performance decades earlier:
On Twitter, the directors have expressed their appreciation for Roeg's work:
RIP Nicolas Roeg. I followed his first career for his photographic style, later for the fascinating choice of the subject. WALKABOUT is an almost perfect poem, the restored tone THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH is one of the biggest SF films ever since.https://t.co/zOLZyF3Apb
– Joe Dante (@joe_dante) November 24, 2018
David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, a self-directed director, shared a photograph of his production The man who fell on the earth, crediting Roeg, who had an interest in the film:
Roeg is survived by Harriet Harper's third wife and a few children.