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"Cracked Actor": David Bowie's History on Film 

Wednesday, Mar 4 2015
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Rock stars have always had an iffy track record in movies (oh, Elvis, it wasn't your fault), but David Bowie had been more successful than most, and YBCA's Cracked Actor series looks at several of Bowie's cinematic forays. Some are practically a given; Nicholas Roeg's 1976 The Man Who Fell to Earth is unimpeachable (give or take Rip Torn's penis), but it's also been well-served by the Criterion Collection, while people of any orientation who claim they've never been crushed out on Bowie's Goblin King in Labyrinth are lying to themselves. But Cracked Actor's essential viewing is the comparative obscurities, such as Julian Temple's joyous 1986 musical Absolute Beginners, a notorious flop that's only recently gotten the critical respect it deserves. Bowie doesn't star in Uli Edel's 1981 Christiane F., a bleak-as-fuck tale of a young heroin addict, but his Berlin-era music fills the soundtrack, and he appears in concert to perform a killer (and full-length!) rendition of "Station to Station." And D.A. Pennebaker's 1973 concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars isn't as highly regarded as the director's Don't Look Back or Monterey Pop, mostly because it's poorly lit and not always easy on the eyes — though you could do worse than to close those eyes and soak in the music, always what Bowie does best.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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