A true cinematic innovator, British filmmaker Nicolas Roeg told stories on his own terms, challenging narrative conventions with his radically elliptical editing style, and regularly courting controversy by taking on transgressive material. The incomparable Roeg, who passed away last November at the age of ninety, is currently the subject of a retrospective on the Criterion Channel featuring seven of his most visually striking and provocative films, including the haunting supernatural mystery Don’t Look Now, the hallucinatory sci-fi cult classic The Man Who Fell to Earth, and the dark sexual-obsession tale Bad Timing.
In the video above, we have the pleasure of hearing from the man himself, as he weighs in on the films that defined his career. Here, the director (and onetime cinematographer) discusses his puzzle-piece approach to storytelling and image-making in Don’t Look Now and Bad Timing; pays tribute to two of his stars, Walkabout’s questing David Gulpilil and The Man Who Fell to Earth’s chameolonic David Bowie; and points to his desire to reveal the complexities that often lie beneath the surface of things, most notably with the delirious chamber drama Insignificance, with its iconic cast of characters (Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Joseph McCarthy). After watching, make sure to visit the Channel, where you can feast your eyes on our entire gallery of Roegs.