Thursday, 24 September 2009

Nic Roeg interview

Regular readers will know of my love for the films of Nicolas Roeg, who turned 80 recently. Empire posted this interview with the great man the other day, but I forgot to link to it then, my brain being very much occupied by Alice related matters at present. I particularly liked this exchange:

Will you embrace new technology? Are you planning shoot Night Train in digital?
Yes, absolutely. I love film, but my great grandchildren will ask their parents “Why was it called film?”

Do you think you’d ever consider going 3-D?
Yes, of course I will. You’re a young man and you don’t understand the coming of sound. People actually didn’t like the coming of sound.


Melody Perkins said...

The very best British cinema had to offer: Performance - iconic; Walkabout - mesmerising; Don't Look Now - a flat out masterpiece; The Man Who Fell to Earth - the definition of cult; Bad Timing - possibly the most underrated film ever made. I think at his best Roeg even surpassed Hitchcock, he encompassed a humanity and compassion that isn't found in the great man's work. He's all but forgotten now, just goes to show it doesn't matter how good your films are, you still need a hit to put you on the map.

Mark Salisbury said...

Couldn't have put it better myself, Melody, although I slightly disagree in regard to the "all but forgotten now" bit. I would have agreed with you a few year ago but I think recently people have finally started to acknowledge what a great filmmaker Roeg is.

And thanks for stopping by. The more Roeg fans the merrier!

Melody Perkins said...

Have to say, that interview couldn't have made such an interesting man seem any duller. It's symptomatic of Empire these days. The writing was exceptional from 1989-1994 and I can recall articles from that period but absolutely nothing from the last few years.

Mark Salisbury said...

And by finally starting to acknowledge I mean, this

although Soderbergh — who paid homage to the Don't Look Now lovemaking scene in Out Of Sight — has been singing his praises for years.

Mark Salisbury said...

I agree it's not the best interview. I think I just got overly excited by the fact that Empire was covering the great man at all. And I loved the two old photos.

I've spent a lot of time with Nic over the years, listening to him talk, and he's actually quite elusive to pin down on the page, his mind and his conversation takes him on these strange tangents (and you understand why his films are the way they are from spending time with him). One time I was in his study and he started on a tack that continued for well over an hour!

Melody Perkins said...

That BAFTA tribute was a longtime coming though. I guess with him turning 80 they probably realised it was now or never. Anyway, before I move on "Don't Look Now" fans may find this short John Landis comemntary interesting:

Mark Salisbury said...

Thanks for that. And nice to chat to a fellow fan.

Melody Perkins said...

I've popped back to apologise. I knew I knew your name from somewhere and when I googled you apparently edited Empire (I'm assuming you are the one and the same Mark Salisbury) and there I am slagging it off above! I actually read it all through the 90s, it was a vital accompaniment for cinema viewing but I suppose the internet has changed many of the demands placed on magazines in recent years and made them less vital - everyone has blogs now! I literally didn't know what was coming out from month to month back in the early 90s so opening up Empire was like Christmas morning for a film buff. I suppose it's impossible for a magazine to have that sort of impact these days.

Anyway it was nice to discuss Nicolas Roeg. I read the Don't Look Now novella and saw the play 3/4 years ago, and it just made me appreciate even more how talented he is. On the DVD he talks about his fascination with playing film backwards and forwards as an apprentice editor and it struck me that Don't Look Now is really the full realisation of that concept. The events of the film follow their chronological order, but cause and effect is reversed through the film. It's a film I'm endlessly fascinated by - Jenny Agutter says his films have something magical about them and that's probably the most accurate description I've ever heard. I mean some of the scenes in Don't Look Now are absolutely bewitching. I'll check out some of you other blog posts while I'm here :)

Mark Salisbury said...

Welcome back.

And yes, I am indeed Mark Salisbury, former editor of Empire. Actually I took what you said as a compliment. I started writing for Empire in 1989 and worked in the office full-time between 1992-96, and so I hope I was responsible for some of the "exceptional writing" you mentioned.

I too share your fascination with DLN, it's a film that never ceases to amaze me (although I haven't read the novella; maybe I should, but I have visited the church in Venice). It's a haunting and magical film. I wish the three minute compressed version Danny Boyle's editor cut for the BAFTA tribute was available online.

And again, very nice to chat.