The documentary “Moonage Daydream” singularly celebrates Bowie

Directed by American Brett Morgen, the documentary “Moonage Daydream” is dedicated to pop icon David Bowie, who died six years ago. The film furiously breaks the codes of the genre with a singular narration.

This 2:20 UFO looks like its director, who had signed “Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck” on the suicide leader of Nirvana and “The Kid Stays in the Picture” on Robert Evans, star producer of New Hollywood in the 1970s.

“Moonage Daydream” does not really have a beginning, middle and end. Forget the traditional formats with experts or relatives of the interpreter of “Heroes” filmed in recording studios. Here, we only hear and see Bowie speak, with unpublished archives (notably his paintings) which are not distributed chronologically but by themes (the creative process, art and money, etc.).

Immersive experience

The viewer gets what comes close to an “immersive, planetarium-like experience,” in the words of Brett Morgen, whose pop icon estate has granted access to more than five million document files. . More than five years of work were necessary to arrive at the film.

“Moonage Daydream” sometimes loses its viewer with the musician’s considerations of space and time. But the documentary hits the mark when Bowie reveals parts of his artistic approach.

The documentary thus follows all the same the course of Bowie from the appearance of Ziggy Stardust, the character invented and endorsed by the singer in 1972 which made him a star. “Moonage Daydream” borrows its title from a song from the cult album “The Return and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, which celebrates its half-century this year. An album that changed the history of rock.

>> To see: the trailer of the documentary

Androgynous, alien rock star

Ziggy Stardust, the avatar, also made David Bowie one of the leading figures of the current glam rock, this rock with rhinestones and sequins, with eccentric and provocative clothes. This concept album evokes a dystopian future: Bowie embodies an androgynous, extraterrestrial rock star, sent to Earth before an imminent apocalypse.

This rock star has a dazzling success, but she quickly falls into disgrace, devoured by her ego. It announces the end of the world in five years, for lack of resources, and a society that will disintegrate in mad paralysis.

Songs are recorded very quickly. One or two takes. According to the album’s sound engineer, the song “Five Years” was recorded in one take, at the end of which Bowie broke down in tears. These metaphors of the heights of fame and its loneliness will dominate Bowie’s work.

“The Return and Fall of Ziggy Stardust”

Still, “The Return and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” is still a critically acclaimed album today for being David Bowie’s most groundbreaking album and one of the most important rock albums in history. Its cultural impact is unanimously pointed out: historical, timeless, visionary. He already underlines the energy problems in his scenario: “The children of this world no longer want to play rock’n’roll. There is no longer enough electricity to play it”.

Bowie defended this album as a work of science fiction. He was very inspired by this field and in particular by William Burroughs’ novel, “Nova Express”, evoking mind control by machines, released in 1964, or Stanley Kubrick’s film “The Odyssey of space” in 1968.

Changing cultural aesthetics

In the famous British show “Top of the Pops” shortly after the release of the album, Bowie appears in a colorful tight jumpsuit, red hair, mullet cut, blue guitar, and that evening becomes an icon for the young generation thanks to a clear message: “Be who you are, assume yourself, forget the conventions”. But also a model for many artists, such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Boy Georges and U2. Bono, the singer, remembers it. He was 12 years old, he recalls: “It was so vivid. So luminous. So fluorescent, it was like a creature fallen from the sky”.

With his fifth album, David Bowie marks a turning point in the history of post-Beatles rock. He shocks parents with his showy sexuality, blurs sexual orientations, installs the notion of gender fluidity. In the 1970s, it allowed gay and lesbian minorities to feel understood, to exist. He also inaugurated shows combining music, mime and theatre, definitively modifying the cultural aesthetics of the 20th century.

Radio subject: Yves Zahno

Web adaptation: olhor with afp

We would like to thank the author of this post for this awesome content

The documentary “Moonage Daydream” singularly celebrates Bowie

Check out our social media profiles and other pages that are related to them.