This Tuesday, September 21 comes out Moonage Daydream, a vibrant documentary on David Bowie. Rolling Stone presents this work by Brett Morgen.
Strolling through a flea market or a garage sale with Brett Morgen must be like hell. The kind to rummage in every corner, to spend hours and whole days there, to come back to it after barely leaving it. Diving into the archives, immersing himself in them to offer a personal look, the American director had already done it for the needs of Crossfire Hurricane, his Rolling Stones documentary, in 2012; in a more, um… digging way, dwelling on the fate of Kurt Cobain through Montage of Heck, three years later, and for which Morgen had not only made friends within the Nirvana sphere, accused in particular of excessively revealed intimacy and exacerbated voyeurism.
Has he learned the lesson, or the succession of the one he tackled with Moonage Daydream did she keep more control over what could be extracted from the archives – even though Morgen assured the contrary? Same methods, opposite results, in any case. Indeed, where, with Cobain, he tried to humanize – even awkwardly – an ill-at-ease musician who had become an icon at supersonic speed and reluctantly, we never feel here the slightest desire to get David Bowie out of his … character cloud perceived as unreal, out of the ordinary, this famous “man who came from elsewhere” once followed by Nicolas Roeg’s camera.
A dimension “spatial”, reinforced by the way in which Morgen uses and abuses psychedelic effects, kaleidoscope style, between two archival documents, two voice-over comments, that of David Bowie almost exclusively, through excerpts from interviews collected during his career. And if the associations of images leave one cautious on occasion, seeming to betray a clipesque will pushed to its climax, it is also because at other times, this same voice-over seems to want to provide another narrative frame to the film. , a form of counterpoint, to better, the next moment, accompany other images, when it does not transcend them, like a permanent pendulum movement.
Rhythmed by a succession of extracts from concerts, the different eras and incarnations of Bowie parade and collide – none is missing – without worrying about respecting the chronology of events to the letter. Bowie therefore tells his story, in his art and his desire to move the lines in the pre-Ziggy era, indulges in global reflections on art, dwells on the role played in his adolescence by his half- brother, Terry, raises his own period contradictions let’s dance.
From London to New York, from Berlin to Los Angeles, Moonage Daydream travels and is taken in one block, with, once again, as sole guide, Bowie’s voice, which can sometimes be tasted independently of what it can outline and evoke. “I fell back on my feet, we hear at one point. I had an extraordinary life. I would love to do it again.” May the one who states things thus have been persuaded of this when he flew to some planet or dark star whatsoever…
Check out this review from Moonage Daydream by Brett Morgen and many others in Rolling Stone n°146, available in pre-order.
More info on the soundtrack of the film