Pick for the Weekend: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

– The Man Who Fell to Earth is the movie for the weekend. In this section every Saturday or Sunday Celluloid Dimension picks a movie for the weekend. The selections are preferably underrated movies or neglected movies that we think should get more attention. Have fun with these recommendations. –

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) Directed by Nicolas Roeg

An overwhelmingly abstract trance of environmentalist admonition, capitalist monotony and eschatological meditation squeezed into a delirious exercise in sci-fi cinema articulated in so many audiovisual permutations that it seems to have neither a beginning, nor a middle ground, much less a conclusion. Ostensibly, Nicolas Roeg’s epic, half-theological, half-secular study of the cosmology of the human species is not entirely successful, but its ideas magnetize such singular intellectual and sensory ambition that the mind-bending experience validates itself with its immense, dizzying melancholia. Extraterrestrial David Bowie arrives on planet Earth on a mission to bring water to his planet which is facing a water shortage. Here, with his shrewd mind and advanced technology, he strikes it rich in order to carry out his hasty plan to transport water to his dry planet. However, the vices of the human metropolis intercept his heroic pursuits, leaving him confounded by the toxic pleasures of terrestrial corruption. The visual patterns are as confusing as they are bipolar, capturing landscape tranquility in aberrant asynchrony with spasmodic montages. Bowie’s cocaine-fueled performance is carnally sensuous and inherently bizarre, pure seventies pop iconography. It’s hard to grasp the dense philosophy embedded in each riveting sequence, even painfully slow to the extent of making you question every idea in its abstruse script based on the 1963 novel of the same name, but nevertheless each daunting frame artfully crafted by Roeg adds so much interest to its abstract depth that it sucks you in without the need to do your part as a bewildered viewer.

 

 

Matteo Bedon
About Author

When I'm not watching films, I'm writing about them.
Editor and Official Film Critic at Celluloid Dimension

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