Wednesday, February 6, 2019

mirror mirror

"Performance and The Man Who Fell to Earth go together... The two movies form a conceptual pair, bookending the glam era. Filmed in 1968, Performance is absolutely Sixties, but it rehearses the themes of the pop era that followed swiftly upon the film’s delayed release in 1970. Decadence, sexual indeterminacy, the theatricality of performance are all in there, along with a persistent motif to do with mirrors (used for doubling and gender-blurring effects).... 

"The script for Performance was originally titled The Liars. Both rock star and gangster project a front as part of their trade. Gangland enforcer in hiding, Devlin uses intimidation, a psychopathic aura, far more than actual violence. In the movie’s critical exchange, Turner - played by Bowie's frenemy-to-be Jagger - lectures the “juggler” Devlin about theatre:  "I know a thing or two about performing, my boy.... The only performance that makes it, that really makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness. Am I right?” But Turner also knows that he’s lost his mojo: precisely the ability to believe the illusion he’s projecting. Devlin, whose name is close to devil, still possesses his “daemon,” as Turner's lover Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) calls it. She says that the criminal provides a “dark little mirror” that will perhaps help the fading rock star escape the hole in which “he’s stuck. Stuck!”

"The second half of Man Who Fell To Earth-- Newton in house arrest, passing time in kinky but listless sex, drinking gin by the gallon-- virtually repeats the atmosphere of cloistered decadence that pervades Turner’s West London townhouse...."

- adapted from the section in Shock and Awe about Bowie, Nicolas Roeg, and The Man Who Fell To Earth

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