Director Nicolas Roeg Dies Aged 90
A cinematic enfant terrible who both delighted and challenged audiences
7Nicolas Roeg, the acclaimed British director of Don't Look Now, Performance and The Witches has died. He was 90.Often seen as a pioneer and a director with a distinctive visual flair, Nicolas Roeg started his film career making tea at MGM British Studios after leaving the army and worked his way up to become a respected cinematographer in the 60s, where he honed his particular stylistic flair. He worked as second unit director on Lawrence of Arabia and was later dismissed from similar duties on Doctor Zhivago.
He had a particular predilection for working with charismatic male singers and cast Mick Jagger in Performance, David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth and Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing. Bowie, in particular, was inspired casting, suiting the detached, ethereal, titular character perfectly.
Roeg never shied away from the difficult emotions in life and he often pushed the boundaries of censorship with his depictions of sexual encounters. One of his most celebrated and controversial moments occurred in Don't Look Now, between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie playing grieving parents who find solace together in a physically torrid sex scene not really seen in mainstream cinema up until that point.
However, as well as delving deep into the human condition, he ventured into material that would appeal to younger audiences with Walkabout, set in the Australian outback and starring Jenny Agutter and later in The Witches, ostensibly a children's movie that pulled no punches in the peril and panic department.
He latterly moved into TV as his output slowed but he will always be remembered as a cinematic enfant terrible who both delighted and challenged audiences. A true great.
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