Red Red Roeg

Red Red Roeg from Colin McKeown on Vimeo.

Enjoy Colin McKeown’s video essay/supercut/mashup on the them of red in the film of Nicolas Roeg — and in some of the films he shot as cinematographer. These are fair game as, after all, Roeg was responsible for getting the directors’ and designers’ colour schemes onto celluloid, and as they may also have inspired his own thinking about colour later. Same for PERFORMANCE, co-directed with Donald Cammell, with Roeg taking charge of the camera side while DC worked with the actors.

Some great links and action cuts and audio/video conjunctions here! And what a rich filmography to play about in.

Red forms a link, if you like, between Nic Roeg and Michael Powell, and also positions both filmmakers on the opposite side of the artistic as well as colour spectrum from Ken Loach, who won’t have it in his films — due to some personal traumatic associations, I believe, so I’m not knocking him for it. But Roeg was the kind of guy, I think, that if red had some traumatic, MARNIE-style associations for him, he’d have used MORE of it.

I keep having to rewrite my sentences to put him in the past tense.

Just watch, in a week or two he’ll be back in the eternal present tense, like Powell.

11 Responses to “Red Red Roeg”

  1. Very clever video. But I must point out (ONCE AGAIN!!!!) that “Performance” is Cammell’s film. He gave Roeg free reign to do the set-ups but Cammell didn’t just “work with the actors” but wrote the script which includes specifics as to the film’s visual design (he was a painter, well DUH!) The splash of red is a specific evocation of Francis Bacon ( blatantly copied in “Memo From Turner”) and central overall as his lover George was a Kray “enforcer” (see the brilliant “Love is the Devil” for more about their affair) As well all know Roeg went on to a successful career. Cammell wasn’t so lucky

  2. Well, in this context Performance is permissable since we’re looking at Roeg’s work as cinamatograoher too, not to give him full credit for films he “merely” photographed, but to show the connections.

    It’s fascinating and sad how Roeg, who didn’t even like the final cut of Performance at the time, was given the bulk of credit for it during most of his and all of Cammell’s careers, because it fitted in with the narrative of his career, whereas poor Cammell scarcely seemed to have a career.

  3. “White of the Eye” is Cammell’s second masterpiece, but it’s scarcely known. I got to meet him when it was released because he was handling his own publicity — even to the point of handing out press kits at the critic’s screenings. Very sweet man. Deeply disturbed. He regarded death as a “trip experience”

  4. Tony Williams Says:

    A superb compilation and one of the best video essays I’ve seen – operating visually without any irrelevant theoretical distracting observations. I believe David Del Valle has written on Cammell’s unjustified neglect in a VIDEO WATCHDOG contribution?

  5. “White of the Eye” is indeed a great loopy masterpiece. The acting is outstanding, but what really sets it apart is how it makes everything just slightly off – it’s not quite a soap opera, not quite 80’s kitsch, not quite a small town murder mystery, not quite a mystical slasher, not quite a comedy – and yet, it’s quite a great movie!

    A lot of it reminds me of Roeg too – the editorial juxtapositions, the variety of the soundtrack – but I think visually where Cammell sets himself apart is his attention to the textures of the environment (the sterility of the housewives homes, the desert, Moriarty’s feathered and the stylization of the performances (Roeg seems to go for more naturalistic performances, but I’m not an expert).

    One underrated aspect of Don’t Look Now: how fair it is towards all its characters. The film treats every character’s attitude towards the supernatural (?) events with respect, not demonizing anyone for how they react to the events in the film.

  6. Wild Side is very interesting too!

    I find it interesting that Roeg was initially dismayed by Cammell’s second cut of Performance, which compressed and intensified the cutting in order, at Warners’ request, to bring Mick Jagger in earlier. Because Roeg then picked up a lot of that style and ran with it.

  7. Sudarshan Ramani Says:

    I like Cammell too. I love Performance, White of the Eye, and I think Demon Seed is pretty wonderful too. Rather interesting that Julie Christie worked with Roeg in Don’t Look Now and then Demon Seed for Camell.

  8. Demon Seed always seems nearly really great. The studio took it away from Cammell — literally abducted the cutting copy from the cutting room and started the neg cut before he had finished it.

  9. Good grief he had such bad luck! “Demon Seed” is quite striking nonetheless but I’m sure it would have been truly superb had the studio let Cammell alone.

  10. Frank Mazzola tells the story in the excellent BBC Cammell documentary. Later, he claimed that finishing The Other Side of the Wind would be easy compared to restoring Wild Side…

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