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GETTING DOWN WITH NICOLAS ROEG’S BAD TIMING
~*Happy Birthday, Roeg*~
GETTING DOWN WITH NICOLAS ROEG’S BAD TIMING
~*Happy Birthday, Roeg*~
GETTING DOWN WITH NICOLAS ROEG’S BAD TIMING
~*Happy Birthday, Roeg*~
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Richard Combs once desired their relationship as resembling “one of those impossible ball-in-a-maze puzzles—there are, in fact, two matching sets of these in the film—where he is drawn to her wildness and chaos and impelled to tame it, perhaps because he fears a matching chaos in himself. When he despairs that she’ll never change, she retorts, ‘If you weren’t who you are, I wouldn’t have to.’” 
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Welcome to Cinematic Panic, a new column in which I anxiously watch all of the Criterion Collection films that have either slipped under my radar or have fueled my film obsession and then share my personal rambling insights as to what makes them so damn good. Enjoy.
Cinematic Panic: Getting Down with Nicolas Roeg’s ‘Bad Timing’
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 One would ask the question ‘What is a kiss?’ And the answer is merely an  inquiry on the second floor as to whether the first is free.
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“They were down for each other.” If one wanted to pitch the concept of Bad Timing  in six words, this comment by its director, Nicolas Roeg, couldn’t be  bettered. “They” are two lovers who meet by chance, though it’s the kind  of chance that has a strong element of psychological necessity. It’s  the attraction/repulsion of complete opposites, a force that will bind  them to each other even while they torture each other. There are  other ways of unpicking that phrase, of understanding what put them  down for each other. It might have been a fate with a malicious sense of  humor—in their blind extremes, this pair deserve each other. It might  have been a kind of Gothic doom, which the film’s lighting and design  gradually emphasize. It might even have been a mysterious logic in the  nature of things, which the film seems to be following in the way it  breaks up and rearranges everything in mosaic patterns, where details of  attitude and behavior, speech and gesture, pass from character to  character. “They” are two Americans in Vienna. Dr. Alex Linden  (Art Garfunkel) is a psychoanalyst who lectures at the university, and  Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) apparently drifts, after separating  from her Czech husband (Denholm Elliott) in the film’s first scenes.  Alex and Milena meet at a party, she impulsively giving him her number  while he tries to maintain a teasing distance, keeping control over any  possible relationship by suggesting that it should remain just that:  “Why spoil the mystery? If we don’t meet, there’s always the possibility  it could have been perfect.” Impulse and control—the  relationship that does develop batters between these two poles. For  Alex, what is desirable—even when it comes to physical desire—is  determined by what is containable, what he can understand and hold in  his mind, like a piece of psychoanalytic research or that formula for  perfection that he suggests at their first meeting. For Milena,  experience is never containable, imperfection necessarily follows from  being open to the moment, and understanding hardly comes into it. Their  relationship begins to resemble one of those impossible ball-in-a-maze  puzzles—there are, in fact, two matching sets of these in the film—where  he is drawn to her wildness and chaos and impelled to tame it, perhaps  because he fears a matching chaos in himself. When he despairs that  she’ll never change, she retorts, “If you weren’t who you are, I  wouldn’t have to.”
Bad Timing: The Men Who Didn’t Know Something
“They were down for each other.” If one wanted to pitch the concept of Bad Timing  in six words, this comment by its director, Nicolas Roeg, couldn’t be  bettered. “They” are two lovers who meet by chance, though it’s the kind  of chance that has a strong element of psychological necessity. It’s  the attraction/repulsion of complete opposites, a force that will bind  them to each other even while they torture each other. There are  other ways of unpicking that phrase, of understanding what put them  down for each other. It might have been a fate with a malicious sense of  humor—in their blind extremes, this pair deserve each other. It might  have been a kind of Gothic doom, which the film’s lighting and design  gradually emphasize. It might even have been a mysterious logic in the  nature of things, which the film seems to be following in the way it  breaks up and rearranges everything in mosaic patterns, where details of  attitude and behavior, speech and gesture, pass from character to  character. “They” are two Americans in Vienna. Dr. Alex Linden  (Art Garfunkel) is a psychoanalyst who lectures at the university, and  Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) apparently drifts, after separating  from her Czech husband (Denholm Elliott) in the film’s first scenes.  Alex and Milena meet at a party, she impulsively giving him her number  while he tries to maintain a teasing distance, keeping control over any  possible relationship by suggesting that it should remain just that:  “Why spoil the mystery? If we don’t meet, there’s always the possibility  it could have been perfect.” Impulse and control—the  relationship that does develop batters between these two poles. For  Alex, what is desirable—even when it comes to physical desire—is  determined by what is containable, what he can understand and hold in  his mind, like a piece of psychoanalytic research or that formula for  perfection that he suggests at their first meeting. For Milena,  experience is never containable, imperfection necessarily follows from  being open to the moment, and understanding hardly comes into it. Their  relationship begins to resemble one of those impossible ball-in-a-maze  puzzles—there are, in fact, two matching sets of these in the film—where  he is drawn to her wildness and chaos and impelled to tame it, perhaps  because he fears a matching chaos in himself. When he despairs that  she’ll never change, she retorts, “If you weren’t who you are, I  wouldn’t have to.”
Bad Timing: The Men Who Didn’t Know Something