Having missed most of Filmstock being down with the sickness, I was really looking forward to seeing the screening of Nicolas Roeg’s Puffball and especially looking forward to hearing the director talk about his career.
It was really fascinating to hear a filmmaking of Roeg’s caliber talk about his work and experiences and although his most celebrated and renowned work was made nearly two decades ago, he still has an obvious love and obsession with his craft. Softly spoken, at times rambling, but always fascinating, Roeg told tales of how he got into filmmaking, how he likes to work and revealed interesting stories behind some of his films. The one thing that struck me about Roeg as a director and as an artist, is that even after nearly 40 years in the industry he still has such a fresh challenging approach to filmmaking. He talked about how much he loves the unexpected in filmmaking and how he likes to ‘abandon all preconceptions’, a message he gave to us, the audience, before watching his latest film, Puffball.
Written by Fay Weldon and adapted for the screen by her son Dan Weldon, Puffball is an atmospheric, moody film, which is certainly full of originality, both in plot and style. From early on in proceedings, this smells like classic Roeg, dark and brooding and definitely weird, unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to the director’s more prominent films of the Seventies!
Part Wicker Man, part Rosemary’s Baby, this is a tale of motherhood, mysticism and magic (Maybe! Not sure bout the last one, just needed another M). It’s an interesting premise and a fascinating story and after seeing the film I’d definitely like to read the book (I know, I know, only the other day I was talking about book to film adaptations, but as this film made me want to read the book, then that’s ok! Right?)
What is truly enjoyable about this film is Roeg’s visual flair, at times it seemed a bit ‘TV drama’ in sense of style and looks, however, there is something reassuringly fresh and honest about the director’s aesthetic choices. The mood in the film (as I’ve already mentioned several times in this post) is also fascinating, as in Don’t Look Now, Roeg builds a tension, which is mesmerizing and edgy and a little unsettling.
It’s not a classic Roeg film, but it’s hard to follow the cult status of Don’t Look Now, Performance and Walkabout and Roeg does try with some more original, challenging material in Puffball. It’s definitely worth a watch and as the man himself says…….‘abandon all preconceptions’.
(To be totally honest I had no real preconceptions and not sure I really have any post-conceptions, I really don’t know what to think about Puffball)