75th Cannes Film Festival | Bowie, the documentary that came from elsewhere

(Cannes) “Don’t expect anything classic, no beginning, middle, end”: Moonage Daydream by Brett Morgen, who is already director of a documentary on Kurt Cobain, violates the rules of the genre around David Bowie.

Posted at 9:56 am

Philippe GRELARD
France Media Agency

Forget classic formats with experts or close interpreters heroes filmed in recording studios. Here, we only hear and see David Bowie speaking, with unpublished archives not divided in order, but according to themes (the process of creation, art and money, etc.).

Synthetic images were specially created to punctuate the chapters, playing with the galaxy and stars. Obviously for an artist to create from his song Space Oddity Major Tom’s astronaut character.

Between these visuals and the performer’s 48 songs let’s dance remastered, the viewer experiences what is close to an “immersive experience, like in a planetarium”, in the words of Brett Morgen, who was identified by the AFP in 75at Cannes Festival where this documentary was presented outside of competition.

This American, who signed Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck, more traditional in style, is delivered in a high tone. It took him five years in this work and it was the first of its kind that Bowie’s heirs had allowed since he disappeared in 2016. They let Morgen open the treasure chests.

Archives preserved

Photo PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA, Agence France-Presse

Direk Brett Morgen presented Moonage Daydream at Cannes.

The singer of Aladdin Sane and the actor The man from another place is “overwhelmingly counted at some point in my life”, the filmmaker explains. “First at 11-12 years old, in adolescence, when I discovered it, it was powerful at the time I wanted to be me, not my parents”.

Then he met her in the 2000s for a project. “It’s not the time for him yet, thank God, because I’m not yet where I need to be for a Bowie movie (laughs).” On the death of the creator Ziggy Stardusthe was ready, specifically to blow up the frame of the documentary.

One of the people in charge of Bowie’s estate confessed to him “that David collected and preserved his archives”. “Not for traditional work, but more for an immersive dive like a goal I have.”

And then Morgen (53 years old now) had a heart attack and went into a coma. Returned, “Bowie’s philosophy, the words, the art” rang out more than ever to him.

“Death, reincarnation, Bowie talks about it from the beginning, as in the song Silly Boy Blue “, He insisted. He took out his phone and played this song for 20 seconds, drawing a parallel with the phrase of Black startitle track from Briton’s final album, which also tells of death and the legacy left by creation.


Moonage Daydream (piece of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust …) is so attached to the appetite of an actor with 1000 faces. The most interesting is not the opening part with the musician’s considerations of space and time.

The documentary hit the mark when we saw the creator cut out pieces of sentences on paper to randomly assemble them and fill in his songs, which were often written, but not displayed.

We also see pictures of Jeff Beck, guitarist of the Yardbirds, playing with Bowie on stage. Someone may be scared of a hagiography controlled by rights holders. But photos of Bowie with sunken cheeks and compulsive sniffles testify to dark times of addiction.

And a sequence with a famous soda, sponsor of a tour and at the source of an advertisement with Bowie and Tina Turner, puts the artist in front of his contradictions in art and money.

A meaningful passage also allows us to appreciate Bowie’s artist talents and we recognize on the canvases the singer Iggy Pop, a close friend.

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