PERFORMANCE ANXIETY

“You’re a comical little geezer. You’ll look funny when you’re fifty.”

T.M.I. blog oldness from April 2008. Apologies for any dead links.

Cinematic perfection. Why don’t studios like Warner still take risks like Performance? Real villains, bohemian antics, great looking marketing materials and a two year studio shelving. Last Poets on the soundtrack and plenty of experimentation sans the usual pitfall of showy onetime commercial and promo clip helmers’ lack of substance.


Of course you’ve seen it – this isn’t the usual misguided showboating to enlighten the already enlightened, but distance yourself from studenty overanalysis, poring every scene as homework or even attempting to keep up with the grubby bad trip claustrophobia – rewatch, let it wash over you then make an attempt to make something even more trailblazing. Forty years on (seeing as it was completed in ’68) we should have caught up with Donald Cammell’s maverick vision, but alas it’s still a speck in the distance.

Cammell’s reward? To get a brush off like Grand Imperial Diamond Shell. Demon Seed, White Of The Eye and Wild Side (where you can see Chris Walken’s onscreen lunacy deliriously peak as he sodomises Manny from Scarface) got the studio bozack leading to him blowing his brains out in 1996.

And while we’re mentioning the Last Poets…