By Ray Bennett
Think of Rome and Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” comes immediately to mind. Think of Vienna, it’s Carol Reed’s “The Third Man”. In Venice, it’s Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now”.
The first time I was in Venice for the International Film Festival at the turn of the century, there was only one film on my mind, Roeg’s brilliant “Don’t Look Now”. It is one of my favourite films and as I explored the Italian city I saw how emphatically the British director had captured its romance, drama and eldritch grandeur.
Roeg, of course, has made many other great films – “Performance”, “Walkabout”, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, “Bad Timing” among them. Earlier, he was a cameraman on David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Dr. Zhivago” and cinematographer on films such as Roger Corman’s “The Masque of the Red Death”, Francois Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451” and Richard Lester’s “Petulia”.
Now in his 80s, Roeg has produced an idiosyncratic memoir in book and iPad form titled “The World Is Ever Changing”. He is my neighbour in Notting Hill and on Oct. 24 we shall talk about his life and work at the nearby Idler Academy on Westbourne Park Road in an evening hosted by Sir Timothy Ackroyd.