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Nicolas Roeg
UK, USA 1983 / 130’
Bad Timing Insignificance

"At first, I thought you wanted my daughter. Then I thought you wanted my gold. Now I think you want my soul," says millionaire Jack McCann (Gene Hackman) to his son-in-law, Claude Maillot (Rutger Hauer). Meanwhile, Jack's soul has long since been sold: for money and power. After getting rich on gold dug up from beneath the frozen Klondike, Jack moves to a Caribbean island, where his empire is slowly rotting in the blinding glare of the tropical sun. Wealth doesn't guarantee happiness, and it certainly can't buy love. In Roeg's penetrating study of capitalism, no one falls in love; instead, they're busy buying up and taking possession of land, property, and just about anything else they can get their hands on. The driving force behind every action is greed rather than passion. All the riches and splendor, however, are unable to hide the ubiquitous absence of soul, a gap that can't be filled by the tarot cards dealt out by the bored millionaire's wife or by the voodoo orgies that his son-in-law indulges in. Multithreaded and multilayered, seething with a series of explosive images coming one after another, like the suicidal head from the film's opening scenes, Eureka's baroque form is staggering. Lust and violence, alchemy and intrigue, jealousy and heat-this sort of Roegian madness once again turned out to be too much for the American producers (MGM) to digest, and they shelved the film. It took years for it to be appreciated, if only by Paul Thomas Anderson, who refers to Eureka in his work on American greed: There Will Be Blood.

Małgorzata Sadowska

Nicolas Roeg

Born in 1928, Nicolas Roeg is one of Britain's most original filmmakers: a director with passion who tears down the order of the classical narrative, a master of editing and an outstanding stylist. Probing with his camera deep into our obsessions, tormenting memories, unhealed collective and individual wounds and sexual fantasies, he broke down the on-screen division between past and present, proving - in a particularly brilliant way - that cinema is a time capsule. While struggling for years with rejection and being misunderstood, Roeg consistently followed the path of an outsider, not only setting his films outside Great Britain (in Australia, the Seychelles, Vienna), but also happily working with artists associated with counter-cultural rebellion (David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Art Garfunkel). Films that came to be appreciated a bit too late, such as PerformanceDon't Look Now, WalkaboutThe Man Who Fell to Earth and Bad Timing, are iconic works: visually stunning, engaging, provocative fairy tales for adults.

Selected filmography

1970 Performance

1971 Walkabout

1973 Nie oglądaj się teraz / Don’t Look Now

1976 Człowiek, który spadł na ziemię / The Man Who Fell to Earth

1980 Zmysłowa obsesja / Bad Timing

1983 Eureka

1985 Z przymrużeniem oka / Insignificance

1988 Tor 29 / Track 29

1990 Wiedźmy / Witches

Cast & Crew

director Nicolas Roeg
screenplay Paul Mayersberg (based on Marshall Houts' novel)
cinematography Alex Thomson
editing Tony Lawson
music Stanley Myers
cast Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer, Jane Lapotaire, Mickey Rourke, Joe Pesci
producer Jeremy Thomas, Tim Van Rellim
production JF Production, Recorded Picture Company, Sunley Productions Ltd.
sales Park Circus
language English
colouration colour