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Performance (1970)
See them all in a film about fantasy. And reality. Vice. And versa.
Director: Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell
Crime
Drama
Music
Fantasy

In underworld terms, Chas Devlin is a 'performer,' a gangster with a talent for violence and intimidation. Turner is a reclusive rock superstar. When Chas and Turner meet, their worlds collide—and the impact is both exotic and explosive.

Performance (1970)

Yoko Koko

In retrospect, we completely ignore key tipping points, because they become accepted horizons behind us. Only if you are there, or have an insightful observer can you even capture the notion that something radical is going on. An extra bite of toast here, a missed appointment there, a chance with a girl — these will flip a switch and everyone on the planet could have rain instead of sun.

I believe that for a few years there was immense power in the Beatles, Stones and Dylan. Not them so much, but in the allure that this form of new public archetypes offered. Decisions they made mattered, because so much weight of soul was loaded onto their trains.

Before Yoko captured our John and confused him with sexed heroin, burning the gates to utopia, the fires had already been lit by Anita Pallenberg. She similarly seduced Brian Jones from the pharmaceutical world of color to a world of fast brown. The difference with Anita is that she was far more skilled at mass seduction and more fearless in the face of death. She killed the bird.

Later, as a sort of freshly re-enacted journalism, Cammell and Roeg use her and the remaining standing stone in a story about rock performance as violent seduction.

The mirrors that include the film focus on the use of the actual Anita, and actual Stone, on- set mushrooms and a then novel hallucinogenic cinematic style. Roeg would go from here to do some rather impressive things and his experiments in his sliding frame style is obvious here. In fact, midway through when the rock half of the story eclipsed the thug first half he assumed directorial control.

The mirrors in the story are more obvious and less interesting. As any summary will tell you, the attempt here is to conflate the Jagger persona as hungry avatar (using the pre-computer sense of the word) with that of a violent criminal underling. It worked better then, because the performer-as-whore business had been so overused.

Now, well the cinema is tame; no one cares about Mick and his girls and we’ve all forgotten who was pulling the world then.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

IMDB

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