“It’s only forever, not long at all.” The films of David Bowie

The truth is, of course, that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”
― David Bowie

Its been five years since David Bowie passed on the 10th of Jan 2016. Commonly regarded as one of the most important musicians of the 20th century his albums gaining ten platinum certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and sold in excess of 100 million albums. Following his death Rolling stone declared him the “Greatest Rock Star Ever”.

We have a very substantial collection of Bowie CD’s in our collection click here for the full list.

However, Bowie was much more than just a rock star his interests were rich and varied and covered just about every cultural field imaginable including books, he was a voracious reader (click here to see the blog we did about Bowie’s love of books); art he collected; he wrote about and exhibited art; theatre both as an actor in productions such as Elephant man and as a playwright in one of his last creative endeavours Lazarus, and also, of course, film.

And it is his career in film we are going to briefly look at in this blog.

All the films below are in our catalogue and available to borrow. Enjoy!


The prestige
“Still arguably Christopher Nolan’s best film. The prestige is set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London. Two magicians share an intense rivalry with each other and leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy. The rivalry is so intense that is will be full of obsession, deceit and jealousy, with both dangerous and deadly consequences. From the time that Robert angier and Alfred Bordon first met, the two were competitors. However, their once friendly competition evolves into battle for each other’s trade secrets.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Basquiat
“Bowie plays Andy Warhol to a tee (who famously hated the song Bowie wrote about him) in this film based on the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a young American unknown graffiti artist who lived on the streets of New York City in a cardboard box. Jean-Michel was “discovered” by Andy Warhol’s art world and became a star. Basquiat is a brilliant artist whose success came at a high price.”(Adapted from Catalogue) 

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
“Bowie plays Major Jack Celliers (alongside fellow musician Ryuichi Sakamoto as his Japanese counterpart) in this powerful wartime drama where the story focuses on a battle of wills and philosophies fought between Major Celliers as the prisoner of war, and the camp commander, Captain Yonnoi. Captain Yonnoi is mystified by the new prisoner that he fails to intimidate and believes he is evil spirit. In a desperate attempt to restore his sense of power, he provokes Celliers into a final act of defiance which seals both their fates.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twin Peaks : Fire walk with me
“Bowie plays the Hawian shirted enigmatic agent Phillip Jeffries in Fire walk with me and used unused footage of Bowie from the film in the 2017 Television series Twin Peaks: the return. The film traces the week leading up to Laura’s death, Fire Walk With Me explores the darkness engulfing her soul and lays bare her downward spiral into drug abuse and sexual depravity. It’s a journey filled with symbolism, dream imagery, bizarre characters and a startling new interpretation of the Red Room. “(Adapted from Catalogue) 

Zoolander
“Bowies brief but memorable role in Zoolander is really just a cameo where he plays himself judging a fashion runway ‘walk-off’ in the zany fun and outrageous fashion comedy starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Director Ben Stiller later admitted he was ‘in shock’ when Bowie agreed saying that it was ‘the high point of his career’.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Labyrinth
“Bowie plays the creepy and sexy evil Jareth king of the goblins in this Muppetastic 80’s Family favourite, which was met with mixed reviews on its release and is now regarded as a firm family favourite. When young Sarah cavalierly wishes that goblins would take her crying baby brother away, she gets her wish. Now, she must confront Gareth – ruler of a mystical world one step removed from reality, master of the goblins who abducted her brother… and creator of the treacherous labyrinth that Sarah must solve in order to make things right.” (Adapted from Catalogue) 

The man who fell to Earth
“In many peoples opinion including Bowie himself his was his best film. He liked it so much he bought the rights to the book and co wrote the play Lazurus as a sequel not to mention using elements from his abandoned soundtrack in Low . The Polymesmeric, non linear plot added to the films unique strangeness. The film loosely revolves around Thomas Jerome Newton a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. But director Nicolas Roeg’s aims for the film are far loftier and highbrow than any basic plot creating a labyrinthian maze of interlocking visuals, concepts and ideas. A truly stunning film in many ways way ahead of its time and also strangely slightly dated ” . (Adapted from Catalogue) 

Let’s Dance: the David Bowie Book Club List!

I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I’ve got a library that I keep the ones I really really like.”
— David Bowie

When David Bowie arrived on the set of  his 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he arrived with a trailer full of books. Nicholas Roeg joked with him about it, saying, “The problem with you David is you don’t read enough.” Throughout his life Bowie was an avid reader, and many of his songs and albums have literary references. Diamond Dogs originally started life as a musical version of George Orwell’s 1984, while he famously used William Burroughs’ cut out techniques on several of his most famous songs.

In 2013, Bowie posted his 100 favourite books on his public Facebook page. You can view the full list here, or check out some examples below. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover David Bowie, by Dylan Jones (eBook) (print)
“Drawn from a series of conversations between David Bowie and Dylan Jones across three decades, together with over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators–some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie–this oral history is an intimate portrait of a remarkable rise to stardom and one of the most fascinating lives of our time.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov (ebook)
“Afterwards, when it was frankly too late, descriptions were issued of the man: expensive grey suit, grey beret, one green eye and the other black. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil’s onslaught. Brilliant and blackly comic, The Master and Margarita was repressed by Stalin’s authorities and only published after the author’s death.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (eAudiobook)
“A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Anthony Burgess’s novel which became a controversial film in the 1970s. In a nightmare world of the near future, packs of teenagers run wild, beyond the control of their families or the police. Alex is a gang-leader, addicted to drug-fuelled assault, torture and rape.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover 1984, by George Orwell (ebook) (print)
“It is 1984. The world is in a state of perpetual war and Big Brother sees and controls all. Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party and propaganda-writer at the Ministry of Truth, is keeping a journal he should not be keeping and falling in love with Julia, a woman he should not be seeing. Outwardly compliant, Winston dreams of rebellion against the oppressive Big Brother, risking everything to recover his lost sense of individuality and control of his own future.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark (ebook)
“Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher unlike any other; a romantic, with progressive, sometimes shocking ideas and aspirations for the girls in her charge. At the Marcia Blaine Academy she takes a select group of girls under her wing. But as the girls enter their teenage years and they become increasingly drawn in by Miss Brodie’s personal life, her ambitions for them take a startling and dark turn with devastating consequences.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover On the Road, by Jack Kerouac (Audiobook)
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. As ‘Sal Paradise’ and ‘Dean Moriarty,’ the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (ebook)
“Everybody who is anybody is seen at Jay Gatsby’s glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby–young, handsome, fabulously rich–always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon (ebook)
“Grady Tripp is an over-sexed, pot-bellied, pot-smoking, ageing wunderkind of a novelist now teaching creative writing at a Pittsburgh college while working on his 2,000-page masterpiece, ‘Wonder Boys’. When his rumbustious editor and friend, Terry Crabtree, arrives in town, a chaotic weekend follows–involving a tuba, a dead dog, Marilyn Monroe’s jacket and a squashed boa constrictor. A novel of elegant imagination, bold humour and undeniable warmth.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Nights At the Circus, by Angela Carter (eBook)
“Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe’s capitals, part swan…or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney’s circus. She is also part woman, part swan…” (Adapted from Overdrive description)