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‘Moonage Daydream,’ a Trippy Tribute to David Bowie, Raises Many Questions at Cannes

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When I saw David Bowie in concert, twenty-odd years ago, he began performing “Space Oddity” halfway through the gig, after a big pause. “Ground Control to Major Tom” rang out, without any backing track, through the concert hall, and the crowd went wild. “Ground Control to Major Tom,” Bowie intoned once more, and then broke off, laughing. He had no intention of playing the song—and never did, for the rest of the night.

Some of that piss-taking, playful humor is evident in Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream, a documentary about Bowie made with the consent of his estate, which eschews traditional talking-heads-and-archive forms in favor of bold, allusive montage that seeks to convey an idea of Bowie rather than portray him accurately. Perhaps not quite enough of his slippery wit and irony is on display, however: Morgen’s viewpoint is one of rather sincere fandom. If you’re already fascinated by Bowie you will be fascinated by this film; if you aren’t (something which Morgen’s documentary doesn’t even seem to deem possible) you may find yourself tiring, finally, of the heart-eyes with which Moonage Daydream regards its subject.

Early on, Moonage Daydream stands out for its fresh outlook, presenting pristine live footage and gorgeously crisp clips of Bowie performances in conjunction with a phalanx of imagery, drawing on astronomy, cinema, docu-footage, and miscellaneous styles of animation in order to evoke........

© The Daily Beast

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