My David Bowie book collection takes up nearly two meters of shelf space in my home office. I’ve read practically everything about him, searched all over the web, written about him on countless occasions, seen him live half a dozen times, collected all manner of memorabilia and interviewed him. it twice. What else is there to learn?
A lot, it turns out.
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David Bowie has a strong influence on fashion design
Brent Morgan, Best Director of the Year 2015 Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, as well as films on The Rolling Stones and Hollywood mogul Robert Evans, get a different look at Bowie with his new film, Dream. I guess it’s a documentary, but it’s a more immersive experience of who Bowie is and what he’s achieved in his career. It runs chronologically like a normal document (well, sometimes), but it offers views of Bowie in a way unlike anything I’ve seen before. If you’re looking for a traditional documentary, you’ve come to the wrong place.
With the good fortune of the Bowie estate, Morgan spent many days and 16 hours over the course of 5 years scouring the more than 5 million assets in his archive – clearly, the man was a pack man with a wealth of ideas. How to be a hoarder – discover many things never seen before: lost concerts. footage, behind-the-scenes clips, rare interviews and more. Then he figured out a way to tie an intimate cinematic experience together that even the pickiest Bowiephiles would have to raise their heads and say “Wow?”
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I talked to Brett about the movie. This interview has been lightly edited for space and clarity.
Alan Cross: Someone once told me this: The more you know about China, the more you realize that you don’t know about China. It’s pretty similar to Bowie, isn’t it?
Brent Morgan: I say this about Bowie: The more you listen, the more you know about yourself.
AC: That’s a really good quote. The Tuesday after Bowie passed away, I went to an event with a condolence book. And someone wrote, “We don’t know you personally, but your music has helped us know ourselves.”
BM: That’s it. And by the way, this is no coincidence; it’s by design. Had an interview with photographer Mick Rock three months ago Ziggy Stardust was released. Mick said, “So David, I understand you have this new album, a space age concept album.” And David said, “Ah, no, man. It’s a gas! I just used the words ‘space-age’ and ‘raygun’ and that’s it! They will fill in the blanks. “From there, he understood the point of keeping things ambiguous and allowing us to create a relationship between the viewer and the artist. We were constantly projecting into him and then reflecting back. we.
I never even thought about writing a biography of David Jones [Bowie’s real name]. I’m interested in creating a mysterious, enigmatic, inspiring, life-affirming experience like the one I got from David. It is very important to draw this distinction. From the moment I started this film, I wondered how I was going to show the audience that it wasn’t a biography. Usually, these projects are a concert film or a biographical documentary. That’s the genre. There is no other country. And genre is very important. Because if you go to see a comedy thinking you’re watching a tragedy, you’re going to have a really hard time with it.
There really isn’t any “truth” in this movie. One of my filmmaking rules is that if you can read it in a book, I don’t need to present it in a movie. My movies are designed to be all that you can’t get in a book, which is invisible. It is almost like wine and extracts the juice from the grapes.
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AC: The movie is really… trippy. We’ve been through Bowie’s life, but what we see and hear is a portrait of Bowie that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before. So what is the measurement?
BM: That’s Bowie’s man. It’s an immersive experience. My entry point was to see a Pink Floyd Laserium performance at the Griffith Park Planetarium in Los Angeles. When I was in high school, every weekend, we threw acid on our backs and watched the show. And to this day, it’s one of the best immersive experiences ever. I have always loved cinema. I love being swallowed up by cinema. I love sound and I’d rather feel the sound than hear it, that’s what I tell sound designers all the time.
The opportunity to go to the IMAX theater, which has the best acoustics on Earth, much better than any concert, to get the setting and re-frame them so it looks like we’re hearing the music for the first time. First, is the starting point. Target is a great, immersive experience.
I had that idea before anyone did Bowie. This thing was born from Montage of Heck. I think why do we need the story? Let’s just use the sound system and create everything I love about cinema. Secret [of Bowie] no need to explain.
And then I had a heart attack while preparing for the movie. I’ve been flattening for more than a few minutes [it was three] and coma for a week. When I get out of that, I’m not broken. The first words I uttered to the surgeons were, “I have to go to the set on Monday. I’m directing a very important pilot for Marvel. And he said, “You’re not going anywhere.” I unplugged it. I mean, I’ve lost my mind. About four months after I finished that program and joined Bowie, I realized that what he offered me was not only a path to self-recovery, but a roadmap for how to have a full and successful life for all of us. All it takes is the audience as they leave wondering what questions Bowie is asking us. “Are we making the most of each day and how are you going to get there?”
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What is Bowie’s secret? When he feels comfortable, he changes everything. Comfort is the worst possible position for him. One of the things that I think separates David from every major cultural icon in my life… I mean, nobody wants to risk being without an audience. Bowie, as he puts it, refuses to be technically skilled. That idea, to me, is singular to David. I don’t know of any other artists willing to risk their audience to fill a creative itch. I was able to draw a lot of inspiration from that and I think the audience will too.
AC: He’s not someone who doesn’t mind tearing it apart and starting over. The film also highlights how insightful Bowie is.
BM: He is the philosophical artist, the most read in our lifetime. I don’t think he’s the greatest singer, I don’t think he’s the greatest actor, I don’t think he’s the greatest dancer, I don’t think he’s the greatest painter. But he put 100% of his energy into his work.
[Even after the highs of Let’s Dance and his audience turned away], I don’t think he really cares. He made music from a different angle. He finally got a home and made some great music later in his life.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.
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