Sung by Tom Robinson, written by Robinson and Peter Gabriel. Directed by Nicolas Roeg. Think of it as a little unknown movie by the maestro Roeg. Hey, it’s better than FULL BODY MASSAGE. And you can certainly see Roegian themes and concerns and techniques at play in it. I was a little doubtful when it suddenly went all “video technique” at the end, but in fact the FX are used with taste and aren’t inappropriate at all.
Strangely, I know a few people associated with the Great Man. Screenwriter David Solomons (5 CHILDREN AND IT) was hired to write a first draft script based on the life of a German WWI hero who was sent to Auschwitz during WWII, never to be seen again. Roeg’s regular script collaborator Allan Scott was producing.
If you’ve ever seen Roeg interviewed, you’ll have noticed his tendency to burble away in a semi-coherent fashion, like THIS GUY, occasionally coming out with an unheralded flash of brilliance. I asked David S about this, and he sort of agreed. Apparently one of Roeg’s big ideas was that this film was “the ultimate story of man’s inhumanity to man.”
David S was faced with a problem. The real-life personage on whom this film was to be based had a very heavily-documented life. Mountains of research had to be digested. But at the moment he vanished behind the gates of Auschwitz, nothing whatever is known of his fate — although we certainly know enough about what happened to other people in that annexe of hell.
The script wasn’t getting written. Finally David S steeled himself, told himself the research was done and the only thing to do was to begin work on the actual writing, he opened a document in Final Draft — and the phone rang.
Roeg: “I just wanted to say that, the more I think about it, the more I feel this IS the ultimate story of man’s inhumanity to man.”
Roegs rings off and then David stares at the blank screen computer until his forehead bleeds.