Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin
In Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing (1980), the central character of Milena played by Theresa Russell is a fascinating screen figure, and not only for her complex psychology. Bringing together many short fragments, our audiovisual essay evolves like a musical composition, foregrounding a crucial aspect of Russell’s performance: her work with voice. Not the intention behind her dialogue, but the precise qualities of intonation as she seduces, teases, argues or declares her love. Guided by the intensity of her laughter, the hysterical noises of excitement and joy, the stuttering of sadness, the pauses and ruptures of her evasions. The throat is an overarching motif: Milena’s sonic vitality is directly contrasted with the drive of Alex (Art Garfunkel) to possess and annihilate her being.