Director Nicolas Roeg has an erratic track record, to say the least, occasionally turning to commercial work after some of his more outlandish ideas didn’t exactly turn into box office hits. He started out strong with the haunting 1971 masterpiece WALKABOUT, followed by the equally haunting murder mystery DON’T LOOK NOW (featuring one of cinema’s greatest sex scenes) and the confounding, sci-fi David Bowie vehicle THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. These films made it clear that for Roeg, ideas came first and the story came second. Certainly this is true for INSIGNIFICANCE, his 1985 swan song of sorts, unless of course you count his adaptation of THE WITCHES (1990) based on the Roald Dahl story of the same name.
In the novel Nicolas Roeg’s WALKABOUT (1971) is based on, “The Children,” by James Vance Marshall, the two main characters, a 16-year-old girl and her younger brother must make their way through the Australian outback after surviving a plane crash. Along the way they encounter an Aboriginal boy on his walkabout, the Aboriginal rite of passage. Roeg’s film maintains the same central narrative, but in his version the two children, credited only as Girl and White Boy, are abandoned in the outback by their father, who has driven them there and tried to shoot them before lighting the car on fire and killing himself.