Nicolas Roeg at 43rd KVIFF (2008)
|Born||Nicolas Jack Roeg
15 August 1928
London, United Kingdom
|Spouse(s)||Susan Stephen (1957–77)
Theresa Russell (1982–?)
Harriet Harper (2004–present)
Early in his career Roeg was a second-unit cinematographer on Lawrence of Arabia, then cinematographer on Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death and Fahrenheit 451. He co-directed and photographed Performance in 1970. He later directed such films as Walkabout, Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Roeg's films are known for having scenes and images from the plot presented in a disarranged fashion, out of chronological and causal order, requiring the viewer to do the work of mentally rearranging them to comprehend the storyline. They seem, "to shatter reality into a thousand pieces" and are "unpredictable, fascinating, cryptic and liable to leave you wondering what the hell just happened. . . ."
Roeg displays a "freedom from conventional film narration," and his films often consist of an "intriguing kaleidoscopic multiplication of images."
A characteristic of Roeg's films is that they are edited in disjunctive and semi-coherent ways that make full sense only in the film's final moments, when a crucial piece of information surfaces; they are "mosaic-like montages [filled with] elliptical details which become very important later." These techniques, and Roeg's foreboding sense of atmosphere, have influenced later filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh, Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, François Ozon and Danny Boyle.
Roeg's influence on cinema is not limited to deconstructing narrative. The "Memo From Turner" sequence in Performance predates many techniques later used in music videos. And the "quadrant" sequence in Bad Timing, in which the thoughts of Theresa Russell and Art Garfunkel are heard before words are spoken, set to Keith Jarrett's piano music from the Köln Concert, again stretched the boundaries of what could be done with film.
His work was documented at the Riverside Studios, London from 12–14 September 2008, showcasing nine of his films. He introduced the retrospective along with Miranda Richardson, who starred in Puffball.
The retrospective included Bad Timing, Puffball, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Witches, Eureka, Don't Look Now and Insignificance. The London Film Academy organised this event for Roeg in honour of his patronage of the school.
Roeg was married to Susan Stephen from 1957 to 1977. They had four children, Waldo, Nico, Sholto and the producer Luc Roeg, who also stars in Roeg's first film, Walkabout, as Lucien John. Roeg married Theresa Russell in 1982 and they had two children, actor Max Roeg, and Statten Roeg. Following their divorce, Roeg married Harriet Harper in 2004.
The Big Audio Dynamite song "E=mc2" is a tribute to Roeg. Each verse relates to one of his films (Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Performance and Insignificance amongst others).
Musician Jim O'Rourke referenced Roeg in the titles of four of his albums: Bad Timing (1997), Eureka (1999), Insignificance (2001), and The Visitor (2009) (the last one alluding to a fictional album in Roeg's 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth).
British Filmmaker Christopher Nolan has cited Roeg as an influence on his films.
Films as director
- Performance (co-director with Donald Cammell) (1970)
- Walkabout (1971)
- Glastonbury Fayre (co-director with Peter Neal) (1972)
- Don't Look Now (1973)
- The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
- Bad Timing (1980)
- Eureka (1983)
- Insignificance (1985)
- Castaway (1986)
- Aria (1987) (segment: "Un ballo in maschera")
- Track 29 (1988)
- The Witches (1990)
- Cold Heaven (1991)
- Two Deaths (1995)
- Puffball (2007)
- Sweet Bird of Youth (1989)
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (episode: "Paris, October 1916")
- Heart of Darkness (1994)
- Full Body Massage (1995)
- Samson and Delilah (1996)
Selected films as cinematographer
- Jazz Boat (1960)
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962) (second unit photography)
- The Caretaker (1963)
- The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
- Nothing But the Best (1964)
- Doctor Zhivago (1965) (uncredited) (some scenes)
- Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)
- Casino Royale (1967) (Additional Cinematographer)
- Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)
- Petulia (1968)
- Performance (1970)
- Walkabout (1971)
- Steve Rose. "'You don't know me.'" The Guardian. Saturday 12 July 2008. Found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2008/jul/12/film.features. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Chuck Kleinhans. "Nicholas Roeg: Permutations without profundity." Jump Cut, no. 3, 1974, pp. 13–17. http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC03folder/RoegKleinhans.html. Accessed July 10, 2010.
- Jason Wood. "His Brilliant Career." The Guardian, Friday 3 June 2005.http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2005/jun/03/hayfilmfestival2005.hayfestival. Accessed July 10, 2010.
- Wood, ibid.
- Ariel Leve. "Interview with Tony Scott." The Sunday Times Magazine. August 2005. http://www.ariel-leve.com/st_interviews/tonyscott.html. Accessed July 12, 2010.
- Adams, Tim "Danny Boyle: 'As soon as you think you can do whatever you want... then you're sunk'" The Guardian, 5 December 2010
- Nicolas Roeg, Neil Feineman, Boston: Twayne, 1978
- The Films of Nicolas Roeg: Myth and Mind, John Izod, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1992
- Fragile Geometry: The Films, Philosophy and Misadventures of Nicolas Roeg, Joseph Lanza, New York: Paj Publications, 1989.
- The Films of Nicolas Roeg, Neil Sinyard, London: Letts, 1991
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nicolas Roeg.|
- Senses of Cinema Great Directors
- Nicolas Roeg at the Internet Movie Database
- Nicolas Roeg biography and credits at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Nicolas Roeg @ pHinnWeb
- Classic interview with Roeg from 1980
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – An Academy Tribute to Nicolas Roeg 2007
- A BAFTA tribute to Nicolas Roeg, British Filmmakers pay tribute as Roeg is presented with the Academy's Special Award (27 March 2009)