Saturday, November 28, 2015
Make it a double feature with Velvet Goldmine and save!
The manic, disjunctive editing rhythms that distinguish this devilish late-’60s psychological drama shocked viewers in 1970 nearly as much as did the film’s subject: the strange, tense cohabitation of a London gangster (James Fox) with a self-medicating pop star (Mick Jagger) and his two steady female companions (Anita Pallenberg and Michele Breton). The montage is Nicolas Roeg’s, as were most of the movie’s delirious visual touches, but Performance—one of cinema’s seminal cult classics—was above all the brainchild of Donald Cammell, a major figure in the London underground scene. With its fractured narrative logic and polymorphous sexual dynamics, the film would become a key reference point for glam movies as early as Roeg’s own The Man Who Fell to Earth and as late as Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine.