Sunday, December 2, 2018

Obit: Nicolas Roeg ( 15 August 1928 - 23 November 2018)

Nicolas Roeg has worked on many films and Tv projects but his output as director is relatively small, only 14 films total. Starting out as a cinematographer on films like Lawrence of Arabia and Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451,  he earned a reputation for excellence - and eccentricity.

As a director he developed a style all of his own and hard to describe. He was able though editing, to pass the limits of space and time with a seamless cut or fade. many of his cuts would take you into the past or mind of the character and then back again with ease that only Roeg has ever accomplished in my opinion. It makes for fascinating, complex and sometimes confusing works of art.

He also broke the mold by hiring musicians as actors, rock musicians in particular. He saw in them the ability to project an image on stage that, while not traditionally acting, was nevertheless engaging and presented characters in a way trained actors had not done before.

Despite his acclaim and influence, not many, if any, of his movies were considered financial successes. Even his adaption of Roald Dhal's The Witches which boasted an over the op performance by Angelica Huston and puppetry by Jim Hensen's studio never made a splash a the box office that it should have. Even so, Roeg films had star power behind them. Actors like Donald Sutherland and his ex-wife Theresa Russel appeared in a several projects as did Christopher Loyd and Gary Oldman.

While the movie studios and theatre chains might not have given him the respect his work deserved, a couple generations of actors, film goers and critics (me included) mark him as one of the great filmmakers of all time.

There is nothing like a Nicolas Roeg film. 

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