"David Bowie: The Last Five Years"


The HBO documentary "David Bowie: The Last Five Years" provides a portrait of Bowie’s last creative projects, the albums “The Next Day” and “Black Star,” his bucket list musical, “Lazarus,” and his final music videos.

Director Francis Whately talked to "Salon Talks" about the unbelievable experience of assembling rarely seen Bowie interviews, archival footage, audio from the recording sessions and receiving unprecedented access to Bowie’s closest friends and collaborators. For Whately, who grew up a fan of Bowie’s music and stage presence this was a film that took two attempts and almost never happened. The director first made a biographical documentary about the five most iconic years of the musicians’ life. Although Bowie was not directly involved in the making of this first film, he was interviewed and later reached out to Whately after screening it. Whately told Salon Talks that Bowie simply wrote to him “Dear Francis, I’m very proud of you -DB.”

Following Bowie’s unfortunate passing in January 2016 Whately was once again pressured to make a film about his life. The director was a bit reticent to the idea at first but eventually found the focus of the story, the Icon’s final two albums “The Next Day” and “BlackStar.” As a fan, Whately wanted to avoid doing a greatest hit’s type film because like he told Salon Talks, “I’d felt like in some ways I’d done that film. So I wanted to do something different.”

In the end though, what stood out to Whately, he revealed to Salon, was Bowie's devotion to curiosity and unique experiences, even into his final days.

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