[4] "He opened it backwards," Johnson said. The Actress and The Ballplayer talk about their marriage; The Actress tells her husband she believes she is pregnant, but he has fallen asleep. © Letterboxd Limited. Set in the Australian outback, it centres on two white schoolchildren who are left to fend for themselves in the Australian outback and who come across a teenage Aboriginal boy who helps them to survive. Criterion Collection Interview with Nicolas Roeg and Terry Johnson, 2011, Essay in Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-ray release, August 2011, Investigations on the Theory of Brownian Movement, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Die Grundlagen der Einsteinschen Relativitäts-Theorie, List of things named after Albert Einstein, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Insignificance_(film)&oldid=1000025269, Films about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 January 2021, at 04:15. The Actress's skirt swirls in flames as she burns in his vision. The Professor leaves them alone and goes to find another room, meeting a Cherokee elevator man with whom he speaks. The Senator leaves, defeated in his purpose. Roeg asked Johnson to work on the screenplay, which at first meant simply reducing the play to approximately 90 minutes as opposed to two hours, but then Roeg began making suggestions which would expand the screenplay and include flashbacks to the characters' histories, and flash-forwards of imagination. They decide to go to bed, but are interrupted by the arrival of The Ballplayer, who has tracked her to the hotel. Roeg's conversation is a lot like his cinema; it loops around fascinatingly until it finds a way to hit the topic of discussion from an angle you never knew existed. Photo: BBC Sign Up. "[6], The soundtrack to the film, titled The Shape of the Universe, was released in the UK by the British label ZTT Records on 5 August 1985 as ZTT IQ4. Throughout, tortured childhood flashbacks and pessimistic flash-forwards (ka-boom!) Nicolas Roeg, who has died at the age of 90, was an unplaceable British film director with a unique skill for stories of displacement. She does a lively demonstration of the theory of relativity using the toys and flashlights and balloons. ", Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat write: "Insignificance shines with some incandescent moments of acting bravado delivered by Theresa Russell, Tony Curtis, and Gary Busey. I'm just happy he's being celebrated at all. The Professor refuses and says he will never appear. He is interrupted by The Senator, who has come to alternately coax and threaten him into appearing before a committee to investigate his activities and answer the famous question, "Are you now or have you ever been...?" Film4's movie critic wrote: "Roeg really is the perfect director to bring Johnson's stage play to the screen. The Professor returns while The Senator is collecting all of the hundreds of pages of The Professor's work to take away with him. [2] "It was always meant to be a play about the era, about fame ... what these people stood for, the fact that this was different from what they are." Projects that were suggested as possible Nicolas Roeg films included "Julia" (eventually filmed by Fred Zinnemann in 1977) and "The Sheltering Sky" (eventually filmed by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1990). [1], Insignificance was originally a play, written by Terry Johnson and performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1982, with Judy Davis as The Actress. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google privacy policy and terms of service apply. And in the same poll, his debut – as co-director with Donald Cammell – Performance (1970) came seventh. The BBC's Nick Higham looks back at his work. The seed for the play was Johnson's having read that an autographed photograph of Einstein was found amongst Marilyn Monroe's possessions upon her death. Nicolas Roeg, who has died aged 90, could, during the 1970s, lay claim to be Britain’s leading director. Waaaay too short. 24 Nov 2018 Nicolas Roeg: 'Sometimes things get gradually discovered along the line. Insignificance is a 1985 British experimental alternate history film directed by Nicolas Roeg, and starring Gary Busey, Michael Emil, Theresa Russell, Tony Curtis, and Will Sampson. A slightly disappointing look at a maverick director which doesn't quite 'get' him, but the clips from his films more than make up for it. Insignificance is a 1985 British experimental alternate history film directed by Nicolas Roeg, and starring Gary Busey, Michael Emil, Theresa Russell, Tony Curtis, and Will Sampson. An incident came up in my own life and I thought, 'Good God, nobody knows a damn thing about anyone.' Then the film reverses and the world is restored to order as she smiles and leaves. The release also contains a booklet with excerpts from the August 1985 Roeg-Johnson interview called "Relatively Speaking" in the 1985 Monthly Film Bulletin, and an essay by film critic Chuck Stephens.[12]. Their innovations are absorbed and, before you know it, no one can remember where they came from in the first place. Dilly Barlow Donald Sutherland Julie Christie Jenny Agutter Luc Roeg Nicolas Roeg Ben Wheatley Danny Boyle Mike Figgis Bernard Rose Theresa Russell Jeremy Thomas Tony Lawson, 65 mins   Of all Britain's film-makers, Roeg deserves more insight and celebration than this. Share. Veteran filmmaker Nicolas Roeg has published a book of memoirs, based on his six decades in the film industry. Section BBC News. The Actress's husband, The Ballplayer, watches with obvious discomfort as she is ogled. And if it gets more people to seek out 'Don't Look Now' or 'Walkabout', then that's all to the good. That was the premise that started me thinking about the piece again." But any doc that covers these films is going to be enjoyable. Nicolas Jack Roeg CBE BSC was an English film director and cinematographer, best known for directing Performance (1970), Walkabout (1971), Don't Look Now (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Bad Timing (1980), and The Witches (1990). Right at 8:15 a.m. as she is leaving, he has a vision of the destruction of the room, Hiroshima, and the world. The director Nicolas Roeg in the new BBC Four documentary. search results for this author. “Nicolas Roeg is a chillingly chic director.” – Pauline Kael. by Hilary Whitney Thursday, 23 June 2011. Roeg notes that Insignificance is usually talked about as a meeting between Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein, but what moved him was the pain of the problems between The Actress and The Ballplayer, who are married but seem to know nothing about each other. TMDb A useful entre into Roeg’s film work nevertheless. Roeg himself mostly recites poems, tells ambling anecdotes, and says "That's weird.". Adapted by Terry Johnson from his 1982 play of the same name, the film follows four famous characters who converge in a New York City hotel one night in 1954: Joe DiMaggio, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and Joseph McCarthy—billed as The Ballplayer, The Professor, The Actress and The Senator, respectively. His suggestions inspired Johnson to focus on a deeper development of the characters, while Roeg himself began to imagine how the film could open the play spatially as well as laterally. The Actress appears at the door of the Professor's hotel room, and he invites her in. A documentary intent on giving a full career overview of one of the greatest directors of our time should run longer than 65 minutes. As evinced by his back catalogue, it's something of a hobbyhorse for a director enchanted with the notion of synchronicity – see Don't Look Now in particular. We look at ghosts and dead people.". Mise-en-scène was created through the use of Pablo Picasso's post-cubism painting Woman and Child on the Seashore which underscores The Actress' pain about her childlessness,[5] while the fractured structure of the narrative was mirrored in the splintered image of Theresa Russell used as a nude calendar shot of The Actress. Directed by David Thompson. His most celebrated film, Don’t Look Now (1972), won a Time Out poll in 2011 as ‘Best British Film’. The idea of their meeting piqued his interest, and he wrote what became a meditation on the nature of fame. That’s the price they pay for originality. The Professor grabs the papers and throws them out of the windows, while The Actress writhes in agony on the bed. He was interested in exploring the differences between who these people really were, as opposed to what qualities others assumed or imbued them with. A NICE TRIBUTE FOR A GREAT, INNOVATIVE DIRECTOR. It's a mystery. Watchable but disappointing Arena overview of the great man's career as a cinematographer and director, which starts by trumpeting the new treasure chest of interviews and home movies they have access to, and then makes very little of it indeed. Einstein was also never called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, "but," he said, "had it gone on longer, I can see that as having been a big possibility. Walkabout is a 1971 survival film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, and David Gulpilil. Glenn Gregory, Claudia Brucken and Will Jennings perform "When Your Heart Runs Out of Time", written by Jennings, which Jennings also sings by himself on another track. A legendary visionary behind the camera, director Nicolas Roeg was born in London in 1928. [7][8], Insignificance received mostly positive reviews at the time of its release, and currently has a 71% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 14 reviews, with an average score of 6.41/10. "[10], The film was entered into the 1985 Cannes Film Festival where it was nominated for the Palme d'Or and won the Technical Grand Prize. Nicolas Roeg was one of the most original film-makers the UK has ever produced. Report this film. [3] Insignificance would become his first film adapted from a play. She stops at a store and picks up a variety of toys, flashlights, and balloons. THANKS FOR THE REC MUM X, "The cinema - and film - has done amazing things. [3], All of the interiors for Insignificance as well as the Seven Year Itch scene, were shot at Lee Studios in Wembley Park, England, with second-unit exteriors shot in New York City. It's hard to make that into a standard career retrospective, and I wish they hadn't tried. With "her much-exposed and famously exploited psyche already splintered into jagged, mingled shards of kittenish innocence, movie business cunning, overwhelming erotic appeal, and abject inner terror, Monroe was post-cubism's quintessential glittering star...perfectly pieced together and seen prismatically all at once..."[6] The image is also a metaphor for Roeg's non-linear filmmaking, Stephens notes that "for a cine-cubist like Roeg, two entirely disparate spatial and temporal dimensions are never more than a splice apart, and in Insignificance, the past is always present, and never goes away. Film Time Out says One of Roeg's most complex and elusive movies, building a thousand-piece jigsaw from its apparently simple story of a consuming passion between two Americans in Vienna. BBC Four’s flagship arts documentary series Arena presents the first major profile of the great British film director Nicolas Roeg in which he has actively participated. 24 November 2018. Films in my collection (less about 100 or so titles missing from Letterboxd's directory), The documentaries of BBC's "Arena" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_(TV_series). British-born film director Bernard Rose has long been an advocate and admirer of Nicolas Roeg, and collaborated with him on various projects in the 1980s. It features six tracks performed and produced by Stanley Myers, who is credited in the film for the score. Nicolas Roeg: A life in film. Those filmmakers whose work we call memorable are often the ones we inadvertently forget. [11], Insignificance was released on VHS in 1985, on Laserdisc a few years later, and on DVD in 2003. Related media. Director: Nicolas Roeg | Stars: Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel, Denholm Elliott Votes: 8,014 This film has been praised for its honesty, but it would have taken far more honesty (not to mention courage) to deal with the personality disorders of these characters instead of simply burying them in blood, sex, and noise. Here, 1920 bleeds into 1945 and drip-feeds into the 1980s, a period in which another 'Actor' has taken on his greatest role as the President of the United States. I won't reveal too much for anyone who has yet to see it, but the documentary provides a fine analysis of Roeg's films and their preoccupations, mostly by Roeg's collaborators and admirers, although the best stuff comes from the director himself as he ponders on the strange, hidden connections in life (relating a wonderful anecdote of meeting Stephen Hawking on a flight to Los Angeles) and I enjoyed Roeg reading W.H. Nicolas Roeg: A life in film Director Nicolas Roeg, whose films include Don't Look Now and Performance, has died at the age of 90. Documentaries on film and the people who make them. She finally announces to him that their marriage is over, and he leaves. The film is an adaptation of the book by Roald Dahl, one of the most beloved and sadistic of children’s authors. The Ballplayer returns and talks about his fame in the baseball world, and confides in him about his marital problems while The Actress is in the bathroom, possibly suffering a miscarriage. A serviceable series of generously illustrated clips but lacking the quirk or slant expected of Arena (although looking at the date of transmission the strand was well past its heyday). Mobile site. The Actress, rather than join him afterwards, disappears in a taxi, leaving him behind. In June 2011, the Criterion Collection released a fully restored and re-mastered DVD and Blu-ray edition, containing interviews with Nicolas Roeg, Terry Johnson, long-time Roeg editor Tony Lawson, and the short film, "Making 'Insignificance'". I was slightly surprised by Arena’s lack of experimentation with the documentary format considering the aesthetics of the filmmaker. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life. Roy Orbison sings the song "Wild Hearts", written by Orbison and Will Jennings, and Theresa Russell sings "Life Goes On", which is uncredited. Roeg’s best-known film, Don’t Look Now (1973), was a meditation on supernatural coincidence set in Venice, that still frightens like an unlucky …