Some life events have been keeping me away from any number of arts activities that I had planned attending this summer and fall…but last night I made a spur of the moment decision to grab some Ed time and went to see Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream at the Avalon Theater. This is a documentary about David Bowie, but all of the film is based on actual videos and interviews of Bowie…not talking heads…no contemporaries reminiscing…just David Bowie.
First, the visuals are simply breathtaking, spectacular, and mesmerizing. Morgen has started with a base of archival David Bowie music videos, live concert performances, interviews, bits from his movie appearances, and some incredible bits from his Broadway performance in ‘The Elephant Man’. And then he’s deftly woven in other media snippets that illustrate or augment the story. So you will see things like bits from Metropolis, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Matrix, any number of B level Sci-Fi films, and of all people Fred Astaire!
And Second, the soundtrack (Tony Visconti helped with the music) will certainly meet the expectations of everyone who attends the film. It’s a great selection of Bowie tunes, as I said above, from his videos and performances, and a few just as part of the soundtrack! And the Avalon had the sound UP at the appropriate level!
Third? There were about a half dozen times that the audio didn’t work. At times, excerpts from a Bowie Interview was presented as a voice over with an underlying bit of one of his songs running underneath and at times, a third underlying bed of street noise, crowd noise, or industrial sounds. The result of these three tiers of sound devolves to din or cacophony and Bowie’s voice is just lost in the mix. Really a sad state since most of the interview bits were very interesting and good examples of his aesthetic.
And the movie does go beyond his music a bit and talks about his painting and his relationship with Iman. The total gives us a very clear view of the artist and man.
This movie is a must see for every Bowie fan. This movie is a must see for any fan or student of the music and culture of the period. And I highly recommend this to anyone just curious about Bowie…you won’t find a better time capsule that Moonage Daydream.
One warning: because of the loud soundtrack, bright colors, quick cuts, and rapid scenes, this might be triggering for some people.
and I just want to add one more thing. I think that this is the version used in the movie, but it’s where I want to end toay: