Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (archival 35mm print, 2/24)

“One of [Nic] Roeg’s grandest achievements of bravado baroque.” — Museum of Modern Art

After coaxing strong turns from pop music personalities in Performance (Mick Jagger) and The Man Who Fell To Earth (David Bowie), Nic Roeg found his next leading man in the unlikely Art Garfunkel, who turns in one hell of an intense performance opposite Teresa Russell in Bad Timing: the notorious 1980 film which pushed all of its primary talent into dangerous personal and professional territory. Elliptically skipping back and forth through time, we open with a catatonic Russell undergoing a mysterious operation while Garfunkel looks on and recalls their stormy relationship in the city of Vienna, beginning with a chance meeting at a party and soon degenerating into a series of psychologically violent games that treat sex and power interchangeably. Not sparing the mutual immolation of its leads for one moment, the film culminates in a searing final act that takes a Possession-like wrecking ball to the audience. Reviled by its original distributor, critically lambasted, and so extreme that both of its leads were desperate to be released from their contracts, this off-the-cuff study in obsession pushes Roeg’s trademark time-fractured editing to extremes, creating a film still capable of wildly polarizing viewers. Archival 35mm print, courtesy of the British Film Institute!
Dir. Nicolas Roeg, 1980, 35mm, 122 min.

Watch the trailer for “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession”!
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