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David Bowie: The Last Five Years

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Review

David Bowie’s death one year ago at the age of 69 was a shocker. A shape-shifter with a colossal musical brain, he had been part of the cultural fabric for five decades. But this time the pop phoenix wasn’t coming back.

Francis Whately, who directed the superb Five Years film zoning in on the landmark years (Friday 11pm on BBC4), here focuses on the last chapters in Bowie’s life. And that sounds maudlin but the fact is that this was another fantastically creative period for the erstwhile Major Tom and Thin White Duke. Exploring the final albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, plus the musical, Lazarus, Whately finds a man returning to the very core of his previous works.

Summary

A portrait of David Bowie, told by the people who knew him best - his friends and artistic collaborators. It also takes a detailed look at his last albums The Next Day and Blackstar, and his play Lazarus. Through the prism of this last work, the film shows how, in his final five years, Bowie not only began producing music again but returned to the core and defining themes of his career. Among the contributors are Tony Visconti, Gail Ann Dorsey, Toni Basil and Michael C Hall.

Cast & Crew

Director Francis Whately
Executive Producer Phil Dolling
Producer Francis Whately

Documentary

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