Bowie: Starman and the Silver Screen coming to BFI Southbank

Our celebration of David Bowie will include screenings of films, TV work, documentaries and concert films, together with an accompanying series of films that inspired him and a special events programme.

Absolute Beginners (1986)

Bowie: Starman and the Silver Screen, a month-long season celebrating actor and performer David Bowie, will take place at BFI Southbank from 1 to 30 January 2022. Originally planned for January 2021, the season’s mixture of feature films, television and documentaries will show that, whether a bit-part, starring role or being just himself, David Bowie was always magnetic on screen. 

Films screening in the season will include The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976), Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983) Christiane F. (Uli Edel, 1981), The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983) and Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986), while documentaries, concert films and TV work will include Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (D.A. Pennebaker, 1979), Baal (Alan Clarke, 1982), Bowie at Glastonbury 2000 (BBC, 2000) and a collection of rare TV material from the BFI National Archive. 

Also screening will be a new video essay by season co-curator Rhidian Davis for the latest series of BBC Inside Cinema; the essay will screen alongside select films in the season, as well as online on BBC iPlayer. 

As a composer, innovator and concept artist, Bowie’s fascination for film fed an insatiable creative drive, which the season will also explore via a selection of titles that influenced him. Hooked to the Silver Screen: Bowie at the Movies will feature a range of titles, from 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920) to Querelle (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982) and Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976). 

The season will also see the return of BUG, with comedian Adam Buxton, with two David Bowie special editions on 6 and 7 January. Bowie’s engagement with film, theatre and design forged his high-concept approach to pop stardom and supercharged the evolution of music video. BUG Special: David Bowie will be a fan’s journey through the career of an artist whose influence on modern popular culture will continue to be felt for decades, featuring music videos, rare clips, animation and comedy. Following the 7 January event there will be an after-party in Spiritland at Royal Festival Hall, featuring a DJ set from Charlotte Hatherley. 

On what would have been Bowie’s 75th birthday, 8 January, there will be a special talk – David Bowie: So I Felt Like an Actor – presented by lecturer, author and Bowie fan Graham Rinaldi. The talk will take an in-depth look at Bowie’s film roles, from leading actor to the briefest of cameos and will also include a full screening of short film Jazzin’ for Blue Jean (Julien Temple, 1984).

Some key Bowie titles, including The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Ōshima, 1983), and a number of the films from Hooked to the Silver Screen series will also be available for audiences across the UK to watch on BFI Player throughout January as well. It can be hard to look beyond Bowie ‘the star’ to appreciate the characters he portrayed, but six years on from his passing, Bowie’s star still sparkles brightly.

On sale dates

Tickets for Bowie: Starman and the Silver Screen will go on sale to BFI Patrons and Champions on 6 December, BFI Members on 7 December and to the general public on 9 December. Audience members aged 25 and under can sign up and take advantage of £3 tickets to any film in the season, available to book in advance or on the day of the screening.

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