Press Notes: Insignificance

Jul 5, 2011

No one fractures time like Nicolas Roeg, who has given us such nonlinear marvels as Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, and The Man Who Fell to Earth. His 1985 Insignificance, now out on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray, is no exception. In the Los Angeles Times, Dennis Lim describes the “heady, hallucinatory” film, which wonders what might have happened had Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio, and Joseph McCarthy converged in one hotel room. Lim writes, “An evocation of the 1950s, Insignificance is also unmistakably a product of the 1980s, a period of renewed nuclear anxieties and heightened celebrity surrealism with the U.S. governed by a movie-star president. The mad swirl of the movie collapses past, present, and future into an eternal now.” Artforum’s Daniel Hartman further elucidates, “It’s an exploration of celebrity based on the principle, as Roeg put it around the time of its making, that ‘nobody knows a damn thing about anyone.’” And Slant’s Joseph Jon Lanthier, who gives the film a four-star rating, is feverish in his praise, calling it a “piquant alternate history of vague social damnation: an a-pop-calypse, a darkly talkative masturbatory fantasy that seems to have sprung from the perspiring forehead of Norman Mailer.”