BFI Southbank will kick off 2021 with Bowie: Starman and the Silver Screen, a month-long season celebrating actor and performer David Bowie, 5 years since his death. Running from 1 to 30 January, 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. 

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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 include special events at BFI Southbank and online via BFI YouTube. A highlight of the events programme will be the return of BUG, with comedian Adam Buxton, on what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday – 8 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. The full online events programme will be announced soon. 

Some key Bowie titles, including The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) and The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988), 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 5 years on from his passing, Bowie’s star still sparkles brightly.

Health and safety measures

Throughout January BFI Southbank will continue to operate with exhaustive health and safety measures including social distancing throughout the venue, face coverings as standard for all visitors and staff, increased frequency of deep cleans, e-ticketing, scheduling of staggered screenings and more. These measures continue to be informed by ongoing consultation with the industry, our staff, and our customers, with health and safety the highest priority in the operation of the venue.

On sale dates

Tickets for Bowie: Starman and the Silver Screen will go on sale to BFI Patrons and Champions on 14 December, BFI Members on 15 December and to the general public on 17 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.