• Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession

    1980. Great Britain. Nicolas Roeg. 123 min.

Saturday, March 15, 2014, 4:00 p.m.

Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2

  • Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession

    1980. Great Britain. Directed by Nicolas Roeg. Screenplay by Yale Udoff. With Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel, Denholm Elliott. Roeg was the middle-aged enfant terrible of “post-New Wave” British cinema, having emerged in the 1960s as a uniquely talented cinematographer (The Masque of the Red Death, Fahrenheit 451, Petulia) before metamorphosing into a highly innovative director in the 1970s (Performance, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth). Bad Timing, Roeg's first film with Theresa Russell—they fell in love during the shoot and got married soon after—is an erotic psycho-thriller set in a city seemingly besotted with the sexualized imagery of its Jugendstil and Expressionist painters. The actual Vienna of 1979, when the film was shot, was much more drab than Roeg would have liked us to believe: the paintings of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele had yet to become tourist magnets, and no Viennese police detective of that era (or any era since) would have mustered the intensity of Harvey Keitel’s Inspektor Netuschil. In another tour-de-force performance, the angelic-voiced singer-turned-actor Art Garfunkel reveals his dark side as a man consumed by his obsession for a young woman (Russell). The film's complex narrative unfolds mostly in flashback, only gradually revealing the full, devastating consequences of the couple's highly sexual relationship. The film's title would turn out to be prophetic: Bad Timing was released to a wave of controversy, its British distributor famously condemning it as “a sick film made by sick people for sick people.” Today it is hailed as one of Roeg's grandest achievements of bravado baroque. Courtesy the BFI and Park Circus. 123 min.

In the Film exhibition Vienna Unveiled: A City in Cinema

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