I love Nic Roeg movies. Along with Ken Russell he was an artistic touchstone in the British film industry through the 70’s and 80’s, they were provocative, original, broke new ground, caused trouble and most important, were never boring. Nic Roeg died on Sunday aged 90, rest in peace.
From his early years as a clapper boy, Roeg had progressed to world-class cinematographer, working for second unit camera under Freddie Young on David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Roeg’s work on this led to important credits including Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Francois Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and on John Schlesinger’s Far From the Madding Crowd (1967).
By the late 60s, after a career in cinematography which would have been quite enough for most mortals, he came to directing remarkably late: Performance (1970) Walkabout (1971), Don’t Look Now (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Bad Timing (1980). And even after that he continued to make excellent movies, including Eureka (1983), Insignificance (1985), the fantasy of Marilyn Monroe meeting Albert Einstein, Track 29 (1988), the sensually charged Dennis Potter drama with Gary Oldman and Roeg’s partner Theresa Russell, and his excellent Roald Dahl fantasy The Witches (1990) with Anjelica Huston.
After his run of brilliant films in the 70s, the British antipathy to experimentation, and films lacking conventional narrative-based realism, resulted in the comparative neglect of Roeg had no liking for self-publicity, which resulted in some projects falling to other directors. As he remarked, he “refused to join the club”.
What an extraordinary film-maker Nic Roeg was, a man whose imagination and technique could not be confined to conventional genres. He should be remembered for a clutch of masterly films, but perhaps especially for his classic Don’t Look Now, not merely the best British scary movie in history, but one infused with compassion and love.
In a loop of desperate measures, Maia and her sick sister Emma find themselves backed into a corner. Standing in their way is Roger, a father with everything to lose. As the seconds tear away from them, each battle against the only thing that can save them. Time.
So reads the blurb for 8:47, a short film starring Lauren Birdsall, Shae Beadman and Roger Sciberras, written and directed by Nik Kacevski.
An Official Selection at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, and Hollyshorts Film Festival at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, 8:47, clocks in at a swift 12 minutes minus credits, however the film feels part of a bigger whole, a fantastic teaser for what could very easily translate into a feature length film. A feature length film however, not shot in one-take, a technique employed here by writer/director Nik Kacevski. The one-take aspect isn’t a gimmick as it really works to the films advantage, on visual and narrative levels, as well as showcasing the vision and talents of those involved.
It would be easy to focus on the one shot aspect of the film, and that would be remiss as there are some good ideas at work here, as I mentioned earlier, ideas that could be worked up into a feature film. The cast are solid, with special mention of Lauren Birdsall who carries the films emotional thread with genuine conviction. The cinematography is fantastic, the technicalities of the shoot must have been a pain to work through for all involved. Special mention must also go to the music and sound design which really help to keep the film moving and add to the feeling that we’re being dragged back and forth with Maia.
It’s difficult to say more about the film than the blurb, or comment on many aspects without giving it all away. Suffice to say that 8:47, is a film short on time but big in ambition. I look forward to seeing where these guys go next… Check out the trailer HERE and the official site HERE for more information about the film.