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Further Back And Faster Fridays Present - Performance

Fri 14 October 2011 // 21:00

(Fri 14th / 9pm / £5/4)
(Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg / 1970 / 105 minutes / Certificate 18 / 35mm)

London gangster Chas (James Fox) is on the run, and via a strange turn of events ends up hiding out in a sprawling building populated by faded former rock star Turner (Mick Jagger) and his two female companions. Turner's decadent domestics are way outside Chas' comfort zone and he finds himself torn between his desire to engage with the Bohemian pleasure-seekers or preserve his tough-guy self-image. Initial curiosity from both sides as to the extremities of each other's chosen lifestyle soon turns to fascination however, the lines begin to blur and both men find identity is not sacrosanct.

Seldom seen on the big screen these days, Performance is resolutely the quintessential counter-cultural bomb of the post psychedelic era, encapsulating the weird mood of the times like nothing else. The producing studio (Warner Bros) were horrified and tried burying it, it's main actor (Fox) reportedly had a nigh-on breakdown after finishing his role, and it all but hexed Cammell's mainstream film career from then on, but it's seductive, magickal power lives on. Although it's hard to tell where one director ends and the other begins (shades of the film's narrative), Cammell's eye for arch decadence and elegantly wasted Bohemia fuse immaculately with Nic Roeg's fragmentary eye and visionary editing styles to create an untouchable cinematic identity crisis like nothing else around.