Director Nicolas Roeg, best known for the hypnotically and formally ambitious films he made in the 1970s, Walkabout, Do not look nowand The man who fell on the earth died at age 90, reports the New York Times. No cause of death was given.
Roeg, who spent decades in the film industry before directing his own films, began his career as a tea boy at Marleybone Studios in 1947. In the 1950s he worked in the camera department and rose in the career over the decade. a valve loader, focus puller and camera operator, making the jump to the director of photography after doing the second unit work for the 1962 film by David Lean Lawrence of Arabia. In the 1960s, he filmed films for directors as diverse as Roger Corman (The red death mask), François Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451) and Richard Lester (A funny thing happened on the way to the forum; Petulia).
In a 1974 interview, Roeg discussed the difficulty he had in moving in the direction:
When I started, I wanted to be a filmmaker, and it seemed to me that the way to filmmaking was to deal with a camera. Then, suddenly, you realize that you are in a business; and that to make movies, you have to have a job. It was all very departmentalized and very much like an industry: was An industry. So by the time I did my apprenticeship and wanted to make my own films, the industry itself went into another stage. But that did not exist before, and I was stuck at a point where the reaction was, "Oh, well, he could not do that because he's a cameraman. "
Roeg finally took the leap in 1968, co-directing performance with Donald Cammell. The film, starring Mick Jagger and James Fox in a Cammell script, was filed by Warner Bros before being sent to theaters by a new studio, after what Variety described as "a long history of delays, shelves, reclassification , downgrade. " , reissuing, and simply despair. "Derived from the critical establishment of its time, performance gradually grew in stature through repertoire exhibits in the 1980s and 1990s and today is recognized as a landmark in British cinema.
Roeg's solo management efforts went through the same process considerably faster. Walkabout, an Australian film about a walk through the country, screened in Cannes in 1971 and criticized in newspapers and simultaneously known in film magazines on the way to classic status. A few weeks after Vincent Canby made a pan in 1973 Do not look now in the New York Times, Stephen Farber published an assessment of Roeg on those same pages calling him "possibly the most subtle and sophisticated horror film ever." Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie – and featuring the two in an explicit sex scene a small scandal in his dayDo not look now filters a thriller from Daphne du Maurier through Roeg's non-linear trademark issue to explore mourning, memory and red color.
Do not look now was probably Roeg's most influential film, and its echoes can be found everywhere Out of sight for Flatliners and Casino Royale. (This is the 2006 Casino Royale; Roeg had a more direct influence on the parody version of 1967 as one of its filmmakers.) In 1976, Roeg launched The man who fell on the earth, a visually stunning film starring David Bowie as an alien who quickly achieved the same cult status performance, his previous collaboration with a rock star. It was not the last: 1980 Bad time he paired Art Garfunkel with Theresa Russell, Roeg's second wife. During the 1980s, Roeg collaborated with Russell on numerous films before his marriage ended in divorce. Somewhat unassailable to a director known for terror, explicit sex and non-linear editing, his last major studio film was an adaptation of Roald Dahl in 1990. The witches for Warner Bros., the same studio he had filed performance decades before:
On Twitter, the filmmakers expressed their appreciation for Roeg's work:
RIP Nicolas Roeg. I followed his career first for his photographic style, then for his fascinating choice of subject. WALKABOUT is a quasi-perfect poem, the restored EARTHFUL MAN is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.https://t.co/zOLZyF3Apb
– Joe Dante (@joe_dante) November 24, 2018
David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, a director in his own right, shared a photo of the production of The man who fell on the earth crediting Roeg with his own interest in film:
Roeg leaves his third wife, Harriet Harper, and several children.