Film - Feature | August 16 | 8:30 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
By 1971, David Bowie had failed to make a mark in either the UK or US pop market apart from the single Space Oddity. His fifth album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, changed everything: his music, his persona, and his fame. His self-dramatization as Ziggy allowed him to assume and perform a role that previously he had disdained: a rock n roll star. After touring the UK, the US, and Japan, the Spiders returned to London for a final performance. Fortuitously hired to record part of the show for use on a new form of video disc, D. A. Pennebaker found in it an ironic counterpoint to Monterey Pop, where Otis Reddings announcement of the love generation became the pivot of the first great counterculture rock film. Conversely, here a generation of alienated teenagers imaginatively transform themselves into a conspiracy of aliens, a company of the ecstatic damned.
-David E. James