The director of "The man who fell to the ground" was 90 years old – Variety

adminNovember 24, 2018

The director and prominent filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, whose unconventional films included "Performance", "Do not look now", "The Witches" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth", has died. I was 90 years old.

His son Nicolas Roeg Jr. told the BBC that his father died Friday night.

A bold and influential filmmaker, Roeg's idiosyncratic films influenced filmmakers such as Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh.

He made his way from the bottom of the business and in the 1960s he was very much in demand as a director of photography, responsible for the lenses of films like "Petulia", "Far From the Madding Crowd" and "Fahrenheit 451".

The controversial and strangely convincing Mick Jagger, starring "Performance", which Roeg co-directed with Donald Cammell, was almost never released and was later cut by Warner Bros.; studio executives considered it incomprehensible as a gangster thriller. Over time it was reclassified, released in 1970 for modest businesses and decades later it received widespread recognition as a classic of British cinema.

His fractured narrative showed the influence of Richard Lester, as well as Jean-Luc Godard and other European authors of the time, although Roeg had to work with an ever darker palette and on a deeper psychological level.

He also defined Roeg as a director to follow. Her subsequent departures as directors, such as "Walkabout", "Do not look now" and "The man who fell to earth", starring David Bowie, evidenced a strong development in his style. Each of them was a compelling idiosyncratic story with very stylized performances, and a beautiful and bad-tempered cinematography.

Roeg struck again immediately with his saga of the Australian interior, "Walkabout", in which he again performed a double task. As with "Performance," the narrative was fractured and offered a certain mysticism that captivated the audiences of the actors.

Two years later, in 1973, Roeg directed "Do not Look Now," with two big stars, Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, up front. This hidden history set in Venice was perhaps his most complete and moody suspense movie, although it never reached a mass audience, as it was eclipsed by "The Exorcist" in the year of its release.

Having undermined Jagger's menacing appeal in "Performance," Roeg used the alien person from Bowie with good results in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," another strange but satisfying movie about a visitor from another planet.

Later films such as the eerily effective romantic tragedy of the 1980s "Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession", the first of his films with future wife Theresa Russell; "Insignificancia", based on the audacious work of Terry Johnson; and "Eureka," starring Gene Hackman, turned out to be less popular even when he was telling dramatic stories in a slightly more direct way.

Perhaps his most successful subsequent film was "The Witches", from 1990, a studio assignment starring Anjelica Huston and based on a children's story by Roald Dahl.

"Castaway", in 1987, was notable mainly for its beautiful cinematography. His selection of "Un ballo in maschera" from the 1988 compilation "Aria" was impressive, but "Track 29", co-starring future Oscar winner Gary Oldman, was confusing to many critics. Among his many long-term projects that did not reach the screen, Roeg was closer to finding funding for "Kiss of Life", which was based on the avant-garde French novel "Mygale", which later became the feature film "The Skin" I Live In "by Pedro Almodóvar.

Nicolas Jack Roeg was born in London. After his military service, during which he worked as a projectionist, he started in the film business in 1947 as an office and apprentice editor. By 1950, he was working at the London studios of MGM and made his way from being a clapper boy to an assistant operator and even a lighting cameraman. During the 1950s, he worked on films such as "Bhowani Junction" and "The Trials of Oscar Wilde." He was the director of photography in low budget films such as "Jazz Boat", "The Great Van Robbery" and "Information Received".

Roeg impressed the profession for the first time as a second-unit lens in the 1962 epic "Lawrence of Arabia." From then on, his tasks ranged from the carefree "Just for Fun" and "Seaside Swingers" to prestigious items like "The Caretaker" and "Nothing but the best" and a wide variety of tasks including "The mask of the red death "by Roger Corman, the films of Lester" A funny thing happened in the way of the forum "and" Petulia "," Fahrenheit 451 "by Francois Truffaut and" Far from the crowd of Madding "by John Schlesinger. He also served as director of the second unit on "Judith" in 1965 and filmed some scenes for the James Bond parody in 1966 "Casino Royale".

When his first film after "Witches", "Cold Heaven", did not impress, he returned to television with television movies that included "Heart of Darkness" from 1993, "Full Body Massage" from 1995 and "Samson and Delilah" from 1996. as well as the 1989 television adaptation of "Sweet Bird of Youth", with Elizabeth Taylor. His drama, "Two Deaths", produced by BBC Films in 1996 about the Serbo-Croatian conflict, was well received, although it received little distribution.

His first effort on the big screen in more than a decade, "Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball" in 2007 was rarely seen.

In 1994, Roeg became a member of the British Film Institute, an award given to people in "recognition for his outstanding contribution to the film or television culture." The London Film Critics Circle presented Roeg with the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film in 2011. and Roeg published his memoirs, "The world is always changing" (Faber and Faber) in 2013.

He is survived by Roeg his third wife, actress Harriet Harper, and his four children with his first wife, actress Susan Stephen, which includes producer Nicolas Roeg Jr., Luc Roeg, first a.d. Sholto J. Roeg and first a.d. Waldo Roeg; and two children with his second wife, actress Russell, actor Max Roeg and cameraman Statten Roeg.

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