Filmmaker revisits David Bowie to document final years

NEW YORK — After British filmmaker Francis Whately captured David Bowie in his 2013 film, “David Bowie: Five Years,” he thought documenting the life of his musical hero was complete. Turns out he was mistaken.

The end of Bowie’s life was equally interesting to Whately as he centres on the artist’s final projects in the new HBO documentary, “David Bowie: The Last Five Years.” It started airing this week, which marks two years since Bowie died at age 69.

“It was only after his sort of untimely passing that the BBC approached me again and said, ‘Would I do another film?’ And initially I was wary of doing anything else because I felt I’d already made a film, while not being completely definitive, did look at the key years of his career certainly up to the 1980s,” he said.

The first documentary covered five significant years in Bowie’s career, which included the creation of Ziggy Stardust in 1971 and his 1983 commercial success, “Let’s Dance,” but Whately found something intriguing about his later days.

“A period of his life that was of the most interest was those last five years when he returned after his heart attack from some kind of seclusion and … (was) back in the spotlight in some way even though he didn’t give any interviews,” Whately said.

The second documentary focuses on Bowie’s final two albums — “The Next Day” and “Blackstar” — as well as the stage play “Lazarus,” which took its inspiration from the 1976 film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” which starred Bowie.

“Lazarus” made its debut weeks before Bowie died in January 2016. The score consists of the artist’s music throughout his career, including selections from his last two albums.

In the music video for the song “Lazarus” from his final album, Bowie seems to foreshadow his own death. He’s shown lying in a bed with his face in bandages and with coat buttons for eyes. The video, directed by Johan Renck, was shot after Bowie learned he had terminal cancer and decided to end treatment.

Whately said the music video can be construed as Bowie saying goodbye, but when it comes to the stage play of the same name, “I don’t think it’s that simple.”

“The subject matter is interesting, but does it prophesize that this was his way of saying goodbye? I’m not sure it does,” he said.

Whately contends the idea of a stage play of “Lazarus” was something Bowie had considered since the beginning of his career.

“I think he first talked about it in 1967 … so, it was something that had been on his mind,” he said.

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

A celebration ceremony was held at City Hall Park Thursday afternoon

Sylvan Lake presents waterfront concept

Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan will provide 20-year vision

Red Deer-raised artist wins the chance to exhibit at San Diego Comic Con

Micaela Dawn said courage can’t exist without fear

BioBlitz set for Lacombe Lake

Well-known Alberta naturalist to take stock of Lacombe Lake’s flora, fauna and fungi

Red Deer elementary school students play Indigenous games

Annie L. Gaetz Schools holds first-ever First Nations, Métis and Inuit Field Day Thursday

Deadline for property tax payments coming for Red Deer residents

For property owners in Red Deer, the taxman cometh. The deadline for… Continue reading

Town of Ponoka, AUPE set to resume negotiations in July

Town council rejected agreement reached between administration and union

New evidence that viruses may play a role in Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON — Viruses that sneak into the brain just might play a… Continue reading

Amber Tamblyn novel flips gender stereotypes as it examines rape culture

TORONTO — Actress and author Amber Tamblyn started writing “Any Man,” her… Continue reading

Mike Colter brings the pain as the indestructible Luke Cage

ATLANTA — “Black Panther” broke box office records, but “Luke Cage” once… Continue reading

Toronto police strike blow to gang with ties to the U.S. and Caribbean: chief

Toronto police say they’ve taken down a large portion of a street… Continue reading

Canada focusing on existing climate plan, has no timeline to increase ambition

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Canada has no immediate plans… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month