Watch That Man: David Bowie, Movie Star

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With a new album and a sold-out museum exhibition in London (sure to travel), one of the ultimate icons of rock is back—call 2013 the Year of David Bowie. In honor of the singer-songwriter’s genius for shapeshifting, we present a retrospective of his finest work on the big screen—plus special rarities from the BBC archives. Series programmed by Gavin Smith.

In This Series

Absolute Beginners

Absolute Beginners

1986 | 108 mins

A cameo-packed kaleidoscopic musical pastiche in which a teenage photographer pursues his elusive dream girl through the bohemian scene of late 1950s London, with Bowie as the smooth-talking advertising exec who offers to get him into the big time.

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Baal

Baal

Alan Clarke | 1982 | 60 mins

In this BBC-TV adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s first play, Bowie is debauched artist-poet Baal, who defies bourgeois society and roams the countryside womanizing, brawling and, finally, committing murder.

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Basquiat

Basquiat

Julian Schnabel | 1996 | 106 mins

Bowie costars in this biopic about painter Jean-Michel Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright), playing the artist’s friend and collaborator Andy Warhol in a performance widely hailed as the definitive onscreen incarnation of Warhol.

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Christiane F

Christiane F

Uli Edel | 1981 | 131 mins

Special Event: afterparty with DJ at August 6 screening! A co-presentation with Viva Radio and New Wave.

A rare screening of the harrowing true story of a 13-year-old Berlin girl’s heroin-addicted hell, featuring a soundtrack of songs from Bowie’s 1977-79 Berlin phase—plus, when Christiane (Natja Brunckhorst) attends a Bowie concert, a stunning live performance of “Station to Station.”

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Cracked Actor

Cracked Actor

Alan Yentob | 1975 | 53 mins

Screening as a free bonus with David Bowie: The Music Videos 1979 - 2013 and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars!

A candid, haunting and ultra-rare documentary portrait shot during the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour featuring much behind the scenes footage that reveal Bowie’s fragile mental state as well as live performances of nine songs.

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David Bowie: The Music Videos 1979 – 2013

David Bowie: The Music Videos 1979 – 2013

Various | 106 mins

Nine David Bowie music videos screen with Alan Yentob’s Cracked Actor (1975), a candid, haunting and ultra-rare documentary portrait shot during the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour.

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Five Years + Reality

Five Years + Reality

Francis Whately | Steven Lippman | 2013 | 60 mins

Free screening! Reality director Steven Lippman in person for Q&A!

A treasure trove of rare and unseen footage, this close-up look at Bowie is a crash course for the ravers with material culled from archives all over the world. Presented by BBC Worldwide / Showtime. Screening with Reality (Steven Lippman, 2003, 28m).

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The Hunger

The Hunger

Tony Scott | 1983 | 35mm | 99 mins

Vampire lovers Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie stalk New York’s downtown club scene in search of fresh blood (watch out for Willem Dafoe). Bowie starts aging rapidly—paging Dr. Sarandon!

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Just a Gigolo

Just a Gigolo

David Hemmings | 1978 | 105 mins

Producer and co-writer Joshua Sinclair in person for Q&A at August 7 screening!

An ironic picaresque set amidst the decadent demimonde and political ferment of Weimar Germany, the film details the misfortunes of a Prussian officer (Bowie) reduced to working as a paid escort to make ends meet.

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Labyrinth

Labyrinth

Jim Henson | 1986 | 101 mins

Family Film! Special ticket price: $6 for everyone!

In Jim Henson’s live-action and puppet fairy tale fantasy, Bowie’s Jareth, the villainous Goblin King, tempts and torments Jennifer Connelly, who must negotiate an otherworldly labyrinth to rescue her baby brother.

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The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Nicolas Roeg | 1976 | 138 mins

Bowie’s made his indelible screen debut as an extraterrestrial who builds a billion-dollar corporate empire and creates a private space program to save his dying home world, but is undone by earthly emotional attachments and the machinations of a shadowy syndicate.

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Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Nagisa Ôshima | 1982 | 124 mins

The conflicting cultural imperatives and repressions of East and West collide with tragic consequences in a Japanese POW camp as an unspoken fatal attraction develops between British officer Bowie and camp commander Ryuichi Sakamoto.

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The Prestige

The Prestige

Christopher Nolan | 2006 | 130 mins

Nolan insisted that only Bowie could play the pivotal part of legendary real-life inventor Nicola Tesla in this fantasy thriller about two rival 19th-century magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) who compete over an astounding magic trick made possible by the scientist’s invention.

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Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

D.A. Pennebaker | 1973/1982 | 90 mins

Capturing 16 numbers from the 1973 Aladdin Sane UK tour, rock doc vet Pennebaker shoots straight with minimal behind-the-scenes action, and he only has eyes for Bowie (and guitarist Mick Ronson). Screening with: Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob, 1975).

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