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Posted on Friday 1/06/2012 June, 2012 by Francesca Rudkin
This month’s featured director in Rialto’s Director’s Series is British filmmaker Nicolas Roeg.

This month’s featured director in Rialto’s Director’s Series is British filmmaker Nicolas Roeg.

Roeg began his career in the film industry as a tea-maker and clapper-boy at Marylebone Studios, and then as an editing apprentice and camera operator working on films like Ken Hughes's The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) and Fred Zinnemann's The Sundowners (1960). He then moved into cinematography where he made a name for himself thanks to his inventive style on films like Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death (1964), François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1965) and Richard Lester's Petulia (1968).

In 1968, Roeg co-directed his first feature film called Performance, along with painter and writer Donald Cammell. Staring Mick Jagger and James Fox, as a pop star and gangster on the run, the graphic violence, sex and cockney accents were too much for the Warner Bros. executives who delayed the film’s release for two years.

In the meantime, Roeg later headed to Australia to film his first solo directorial debut called Walkabout which was released in 1071. It’s this film that begins our celebration of this highly original artist’s work over the following decade.

Walkabout (1971) - Sunday 3rd June, 8.30pm

Roeg photographed and directed this right of passage story about two white children (Jenny Agutter and Luc Roeg - Nicolas’ son) stranded in the Australian outback after their father commits suicide. As their supplies run out they meet a kind Aboriginal man (David Gulpilil) on his walkabout who guides them through the bush. The script for this symbolically heavy and vibrantly shot film was reported as being only 14 pages long.

Don’t Look Now (1973) - Sunday 10th June, 9.50pm

One of Roeg’s most well known works, this fine and disturbingly retrained psychological thriller, based on the short story by Daphne du Maurier, stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland and was both critically and commercially acclaimed. It’s the story of British couple John and Laura Baxter who relocate to Venice after the shocking death of their young daughter Christine, and find themselves confronted by strange visions.

The Man Who Fell To Earth(1976) - Sunday 17th June, 8.30pm

Once again Roeg takes a novel - this time Walter Tevis’ book of the same name - and deconstructs it into his own non-linear style of narration. David Bowie is well cast as a humanoid alien who travels to earth to source water for his own planet and becomes distracted by his new environment.

 Bad Timing (1980) - Sunday 24th June, 8.30pm

Art Garfunkel stars in this lesser known Roeg’s film that was publicly disowned by the Rank studio that made it - apparently they preferred to loose money rather than play it in their own cinemas. About a destructive and doomed affair, this is regarded by fans as one of Roeg’s forgotten masterpieces where his non-chronological storytelling blossoms.


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