Life before death is like a marathon — a race with time. Having suffered a heart attack in the midst of his Reality tour, David Bowie stepped out of the limelight for several years, becoming elusive and unreachable. No more solo concerts, no more interviews. But going out silent? No, that’s not Bowie.
The great hoaxer lay low before the final sprint, planning to turn his send off into a festival. The release of albums The Next Day and Blackstar, dozens of music videos, a theatre show on Broadway, an exhibition in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, each step verified, each one a part of a grandiose plan. The film David Bowie – The Last Five Years uncovers the details of this huge artistic operation, in which 50 people were involved, all sworn to secrecy. Musicians, actors, directors, artists – witnesses and participants in Bowie’s farewell project – immerse the viewer in the internal world of a man in battle with his illness. David Bowie sends himself on a journey through the world of memory, where reflection births new thoughts. He settles scores with the heroes of his songs and alter egos, discusses the phenomenon of fame, not being afraid of sentimentalism. He plays with best friends and random acquaintances, trying out new genres – from improvised jazz to musicals. And the more he finds out about himself, the bigger his zeal to make music. Over a 50 year career Bowie has dared to be anyone and anything, manifesting the freedom of transformation – yet here he is finally free to be just himself.