When and where to see the new unmissable documentary on David Bowie?

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When the director of the documentary Brett Morgan reaching his eighth month of blocking on an epic David Bowie project, he decided it was time to hit the road. With just a few hours’ notice, he left his home in Los Angeles one morning and flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Bowie had filmed. Man who fell to Earth (1976).

Morgen’s comedy about Bowie, Moonage daydream, which can only be seen in theaters this Thursday (15 September) and in the IMAX theaters (Thursday 15 and Sunday 18)it does not present itself as a traditional documentary, but as an immersive experience.

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“Being in transit was an important theme in David’s life,” says Morgen. “He talked a lot about traveling by train to the West. And many of the songs he wrote happened during some of his trips to the United States. “

Morgen pulled out her notes; his telephone, with all the records of the White Duke; and your copy of The hero of a thousand faces, by Giuseppe Campbell. “I was thinking about it The Iliad“he said,” and I started seeing David’s journey. He’s not that different, but he created the storms for himself. ” Suddenly, the script for his film, which had already been in the works for three years, began to flow.

That journey was one of the many ways in which Bowie, the rock icon who died in 2016, influenced Morgen, a documentary maker known for showcasing great personalities who change the world. So he entered Kurt Cobain: Montage of Hell or The child remains in the photoon famed Hollywood producer Robert Evans (co-directed with Nanette Burstein) and Giovannaabout Jane Goodall.

It is equally psychedelic and philosophical: a corkscrew for the character of Bowie, carefully constructed, assembled entirely with archival and audio material, partly rare and never released before. The effect is “a mind-blowing documentary with a killer subtext”as one reviewer wrote, after its premiere at the last Cannes Film Festival.

With Bowie it’s fine

Although there were other documentaries and many books, this is the first project that has had the full cooperation of the Bowie estate and full access to its voluminous archives. Songs have been stripped down and rejuvenated for the soundtrack, with all the narration coming from Bowie himself.

But that level of intimacy posed a challenge for writer, director and producer Morgen, who had to contend with a mountain of material and ended up as the sole editor when the production ran out of money.

“I felt very confident that the line of David’s artistic life has been chaos and fragmentationMorgen explained that he had heard those ideas over and over in Bowie interviews since 1971, and eventually decided to adopt them himself.

sensory overload

Tony Visconti, producer and collaborator of Bowie A longtime source for audio, he was impressed with how the film created a kaleidoscope of visuals, storytelling and music.

“There is a great technique in all of this,” he commented via email. “And when you see and hear, especially in IMAX cinemas, get the most out of Bowie: sensory overload. David would be very impressed with this film. “

What Morgen didn’t know was how much making the film would change him, especially afterwards suffers from a debilitating heart attack at the age of 47. He passed out and was in a coma for a week, he said in a telephone interview.

He came out with a mindset that led him to focus on history and reorient his life as a married father of three. Perversely, the impulsive Bowie helped Morgen, now 53 and a workaholic, find his balance.

And he needed it, when he was mounting, all alone, during the first COVID spike (his health scare made him extremely cautious). “I was sitting alone in this building, making a film about an artist whose craft was isolation and how to creatively channel it,” he said. “So I felt like I was systematically describing the world I lived in.”

He had initially visited Visconti in his New York studio. “We were in the room where he recorded David while he did black Star“, the album that Bowie released two days before his deathMorgan said.

“It was pretty intense.” Visconti played Cygnet Committee, a track from Bowie’s second album, depriving him of his voice. The song, written when Bowie was about 22, ends with a repeated text: “I want to live”. “David cried throughout the performance,” Morgen said.

five years

That kind of emotion – hungry and vulnerable – set the tone for the film. It took five years to make it happen Moonage daydream. Morgan and his team it took over a year to transfer hours of concert and show footage, footage of Bowie’s paintings and other contents of his estate, along with additional material acquired by Morgen’s archivist, and about two years to view it all.

But the film is not complete. No conversation with anyone else, nor is Iggy Pop mentioned, for examplewith whom Bowie took refuge in Berlin during one of his most creatively fertile periods, or Nile Rodgers, who helped him reinvent his career as a pop artist in the 1980s.

No sex, no drugs

sexual greed and drug addiction, which often feature prominently in Bowie’s history, are only mentioned in montages and jumps in interviews. (“Do I need to explain? He seems a little cheeky to me,” Morgen said of one where Bowie is sweating and smiling maniacally.)

Although the film plunges into his childhood and family, neglects her personal life until her marriage to model and entrepreneur Iman.

Bowie in quotes

“It was never intended as a David Jones movie,” Morgen said, using Bowie’s real name. Every time Bowie appeared on screen, including interviews, it was a performative moment, Morgen added, and that’s what he wanted to capture. “It’s a Bowie movie in quotes.”

He first approached Bowie for making a hybrid non-fiction film in 2007, when the artist was already wondering how to display his archives, but the timing and scope were not right, Morgen said. I was exploring a similar non-fiction idea with the remaining Beatles when Bowie diedand a phone call with Bowie’s former business manager Bill Zysblat resurrected the film.

“Bowie’s ownership gave me unlimited access but not a lot of guidance,” Morgen explained.

At some point, he wanted to discuss which direction to take. “Should we go further? Bohemian Rhapsody“, Queen’s biopic of 2018,” and create a kind of populist song? “he asked.” Or should we do it more in the spirit of Bowie, which can be a little more adventurous? “

And they said, “Well, that’s your problem.” (He hired Paul Massey, who shared an Oscar for sound mixing Bohemian Rhapsodywhich Morgen claims to have seen 14 or 15 times– for Moonage daydream).

The estate, which is overseen by Zysblat, and which includes Bowie’s family …his widow, Iman; his daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones; and her son from his first marriage, director Duncan Jones– declined to answer questions for this note, but supports the film.

Brett Morgen created an extraordinary testament to David’s lasting influence on the world“they said in a statement released through a representative.

The heirs keep billing, selling Bowie’s song catalog to Warner Music for around $ 250 million this yearas his popularity (over a billion streams on Spotify) and his reputation as a cultural visionary, especially when it comes to technology and music, have only grown.

For Morgen, one of the most significant points was the way Bowie behaved in many interviews, often with people who clearly didn’t understand him; one, trying to find out how strange this genre artist was, asked him if he had had a teddy bear as a child. It’s still “I’ve never seen David speak contemptuously, be disrespectful, brief, annoying”Morgan said.

Maybe it was a disarming tactic, but Morgen saw something deeper: the ability to seek connection and depth in every situation. It was a message that he tried to convey in the film. Bowie “tried to make every moment matter,” she said. “It’s kind of a life affirming roadmap about how to lead a fulfilling and fulfilling life.”

Source: The New York Times

Translation: Patricia Sar


Source: Clarin

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