Ah, the ICA. I do like it. They find space to screen some wonderful films – and at the end of August they are celebrating David Bowie’s shenanigans in front of the camera. Bowie has actually brought us some very influential characters and been a part of some great films over the years. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering just how much he has changed his persona for different tours, albums and appearances.
Here’s a guide to the festival:
FRIDAY 31 AUG
TALK – 1pm – Culture Now, Woody Woodmansey in conversation with Tom Wilcox
To coincide with Bowiefest, the first ever Bowie Film Festival celebrating 40 years of David Bowie’s work in film, Culture Now introduces Tom Wilcox in conversation with Woody Woodmansey – drummer from David Bowie’s legendary band the Spiders from Mars in a talk that will explore the artistic processes that created Ziggy Stardust, and assess its cultural impact.
FILM – 7pm – Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. (Note ticket price: £12 / £10 concessions / £8 ICA Members)
The July 3, 1973 concert by David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars at London’s Hammersmith Odeon Theatre is the subject of this documentary by director D.A. Pennebaker. Followed by an after show party to celebrate the launch of the festival. They’re asking folks to dress up as in their as a favourite Bowie persona. I’m not sure about the dressing up – but I’m certainly looking forward to an evening of great Bowie music!
SATURDAY 1 SEPT
FILM – 1pm – Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, directed by Nagisa Ôshima
Starring Tom Conti and Takeshi Kitano alongside Bowie in what he called his ‘most credible performance’, Ôshima’s 1983 Cannes Palme D’Or entry deals with the relationships among four men in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during the Second World War.
FILM – 3:15pm – The Man Who Fell to Earth + Q&A with Nicolas Roeg, directed by Nicolas Roeg (Note ticket price: £12 / £10 concessions / £8 ICA Members)
Nic Roeg’s sci-fi classic starring David Bowie, Rip Torn and Candy Clark is an adaptation of Walter Tevis’ novel about an alien who comes to Earth seeking a solution to his home planet’s woes, only to find himself lost in an unfamiliar, corrupt and sometimes hostile society.
FILM – 6:20pm – Christiane F, directed by Uli Edel
Now an established cult movie featuring Bowie performing in concert and a soundtrack from his ‘Berlin era’ albums (Low, Heroes, Lodger), Christiane F follows the escapades of a 12-year old girl as she gets drawn deeper and deeper into the 1970s drug scene in West Berlin.
FILM – 9pm – The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott
The directorial debut of Tony Scott, The Hunger is a neo-gothic horror telling story of a love triangle between a doctor (Susan Sarandon) who specializes in sleep and ageing research, and a vampire couple played by Catherine Deneuve and Bowie.
SUNDAY 2 SEPT
FILM – 1:30pm – Labyrinth, directed by Jim Henson
Perhaps Bowie’s most famous role, not least due to his famous cod-piece, Labyrinth is a fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, featuring a cast played by puppets from his Creature Shop. It revolves around the quest of teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) who has to reach the centre of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, kidnapped by Bowie’s Jareth, the Goblin King.
FILM – 3:30pm – Absolute Beginners, directed by Julien Temple
A musical adaptation of Colin MacInnes’ novel about life in late 1950s London, featuring Bowie (who also provided the title track) and Sade, along with a breakthrough role for Patsy Kensit. Julien Temple’s unconventional rock musical divided audiences on its high-profile release but has gone on to acquire cult status.
SPECIAL EVENT – 6.20pm – Alan Yentob in conversation with Jeremy Deller about CRACKED ACTOR (Note ticket price: £12 / £10 concessions / £8 ICA Members)
A BBC Omnibus documentary, Cracked Actor followed an alienated Bowie during the Diamond Dogs tour of America in 1974. The director Alan Yentob will be in conversation with leading UK artist Jeremy Deller about this influential film to close the festival.