Skip to main content

INSIGNIFICANCE

UK, 1985 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Nicolas Roeg

1953. New York hotel room. Sweaty summer night. A professor has been summoned to the Big Apple to testify in the communist witch hunt hearings. He meets a slightly daffy actress with an exceedingly daffy explanation of the theory of relativity. Her husband, a baseball player, tries to separate their coy, platonic relationship, but he is squeezed out of the action by an insidious right-wing senator who hopes to steal the professor's important scientific discoveries. And then there is the very big Cherokee Indian in the hotel lift, pretending to be an attendant...

These thinly disguised portrayals suggest Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and very possibly, Joe McCarthy, as role models for a bizarre, thought-provoking comedy, set against the horrors of Hiroshima and the politics of the Cold War. Nicolas Roeg"s skilful and typically powerful direction translates Terry Johnson's script (from his own stage play) to the screen without losing any of the power of the original text. The cast all produce fine performances, but Will Sampson, given the minor role as the Cherokee elevator attendant, nearly steals the film when he greets a New York dawn with a full blooded Indian chant - suddenly the claustrophobic machinations of the hotel set become a microcosm of the outside world.

See also...

SEACOAL

Lying somewhere between the naturalism of Mike Leigh and the working class concerns of Ken Loach, Seacoal, a unique collaborative project, is an astonishing doco-drama that demolishes the lines ... More »

ZINA

Ken McMullen's most ambitious film to date traces the story of ... one of those shadowy figures from the past through whom we ... seek to learn the true temper of an extraordinary time. She is ... More »

THE ANGELIC CONVERSATION

Derek Jarman is best known in Australia for his more "mainstream" features (Sebastiane, Jubilee, and The Tempest) and as production designer on Ken Russell's Savage Messiah and The Devils. He has ... More »

OUT OF THE DARKNESS

A ghost story with a twist, this mystery is highly recommended for the 8-10 age group. shot in Derbyshire, the film takes its tale from the famous self-sacrifice by the villagers, who during the ... More »

The Victor

Jimmy Mullen tries to desert from the army but finds himself In the middle of a violent nightmare. Is this a punishment or a horrific military experiment? ... More »

True Life Romance

The appeal of the romantic pulp novel in the effective portrayal at the Ideal relationship from courtship to climax. Spanning continents In a handful of pages, the fiction moves from palm tree lined ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director