David Bowie film Moonage Daydream marries documentary with immersive collage, conjuring the texture of a live performance

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Demise comes for us all, even – because it did at midnight days of early 2016 – the seemingly immortal David Bowie, whose earthly departure felt each sudden and, in a way, lengthy overdue: the starman had lastly pulled the final word inventive reinvention, disappearing into the cosmos from whence he got here.

Within the years since, the shapeshifting icon has encountered a destiny worse than loss of life: enshrinement within the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll delusion; the very factor that the stressed artist – the actor – doubtless would have disdained.

The music endures, after all, however amid the infinite biggest hits repackagings and field units, the picture, so typically lowered to a cartoon lighting bolt and flaming mullet, now adorns espresso mugs, grownup colouring books, and licensed T-shirts lining the racks at chain shops. Crack, child, crack.

Moonage Daydream, the primary formally sanctioned Bowie documentary since his passing, appears designed to push the star again into the realm of artwork, marvel, stressed experimentation.

“It is not a biographical movie in any respect, it is actually a meditation or a celebration of [Bowie’s] musical journey,” Morgen instructed ABC Melbourne.(Equipped: Common)

Whereas broadly encompassing the spectacular arc of his profession, its two-and-a-half hours of sound and imaginative and prescient largely eschews biographical element and dispenses, no less than on the floor, with the trimmings of the normal rock documentary, providing as an alternative an immersive collage narrated, in spectral voice over, by Bowie himself.

Director Brett Morgen, a type of self-styled rockstar filmmaker whose résumé boasts the beautiful good Kurt Cobain movie Montage of Heck, was given the keys to the Bowie kingdom by the late singer’s property, and reportedly took 5 years (what a shock!) in combing hundreds of hours of footage, a lot of it – or so we’re promised – unseen, or no less than radically restored from the archive.

What he is assembled is much less a definitive account of a life than an impressionistic portrait, one which the press package touts as an ”experiential cinematic odyssey”, a montage-heavy journey via Bowie’s music, artwork, and writing threaded collectively by reflections on his inventive course of.

David Bowie shirtless and with a mullet sings into a microphone lit in orange against a blue and green lit stage.
Morgen trawled via round 5 million belongings equipped by Bowie’s property to make the movie, together with interviews, efficiency footage, stills, and artworks.(Equipped: Common)

Held in opposition to the usual of the standard music documentary, Moonage Daydream is formally and sonically bold, favouring temporal echoes, psychic connections and visible motifs over linear narrative – it circles and loops again throughout Bowie’s profession, permitting varied incarnations of the singer to commune with one another, floating in a most peculiar method.

The movie’s first half, roughly devoted to Bowie’s glam rock reign within the early 70s, is its most exhilarating, capturing the singer’s visible transformation with an electrical eye. Although a lot of the footage is acquainted, Morgen has accessed the unique digital camera masters and, in some instances, alternate angles and outtakes, to breathe new life into clips from Life on Mars? and Ziggy Stardust’s swan music that burst with a ravishing sense of immediacy.

Working with Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti and sound mixer Paul Massey, who’ve reassembled (and in some situations remixed) lots of Bowie’s tracks from their unique stems, Morgen has cranked up the sound to pleasingly ear-shattering ranges, which means the movie performs like a live performance – which is smart whenever you realise that the filmmaker has inked a multi-picture deal to make extra music movies for the IMAX format (the easiest way to see this, by the way, when you can).

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Play Audio. Duration: 32 minutes 31 seconds

Pay attention: Brett Morgen on Bowie
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