Performance 18

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From the archive

This film was last shown on 22 August 2019

A deliriously experimental thriller about a hunted gangster taking refuge with a reclusive rock star, Performance was treated with disdain by the studio who produced it and bewildered audiences at the time, but has since gone on to become a classic and defining thriller of British cinema. Amid swinging sixties London, in underworld terms, Chas Devlin (James Fox) is a ‘performer’ - a psychotic East End gangster with a talent for violence and intimidation. By contrast Turner (Mick Jagger) is a washed-up junkie and reclusive rock superstar. When their worlds collide, the impact is both exotic and explosive.

Performance stands out as a visually daring film that deals with questions of sanity and identity, representing the furthest that truly underground filmmaking has ever penetrated into the mainstream. A psychedelic blend of fantasy, freakishness and pioneering ideas and sensibilities, with an incredible soundtrack to boot.


Nicolas Roeg
100 mins
Anita Pallenberg, James Fox, Mick Jagger


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