David Bowie: The Last Five Years Is Now Airing/Streaming on HBO

FYI: David Bowie died two years ago today. And to com­mem­o­rate the anniver­sary, HBO has just start­ed air­ing David Bowie: The Last Five Years, a 90-minute BBC doc­u­men­tary that revis­its Bowie’s less pub­lic final years. If you don’t already have HBO, you could always watch the doc by sign­ing up for a free tri­al for HBO Now (HBO’s stream­ing ser­vice). Here’s a quick summary/overview of the film:

In the last years of his life, David Bowie end­ed near­ly a decade of silence to engage in an extra­or­di­nary burst of activ­i­ty, pro­duc­ing two ground­break­ing albums and a musi­cal. David Bowie: The Last Five Years explores this unex­pect­ed end to a remark­able career.

On the 2003–2004 “Real­i­ty” tour, David Bowie had a fright­en­ing brush with mor­tal­i­ty, suf­fer­ing a heart attack dur­ing what was to be his final full con­cert. He then dis­ap­peared from pub­lic view, only re-emerg­ing in the last five years of his life to make some of the most impor­tant music of his career. Made with remark­able access, Fran­cis Whately’s doc­u­men­tary is a rev­e­la­to­ry fol­low-up to his acclaimed 2013 doc­u­men­tary David Bowie: Five Years, which chron­i­cled Bowie’s gold­en ‘70s and early-‘80s peri­od.

While illu­mi­nat­ing icon­ic moments of his extra­or­di­nary and pro­lif­ic career, David Bowie: The Last Five Years focus­es on three major projects: the albums The Next Day and the jazz-infused Black­star (released on Bowie’s 69th birth­day, two days before his death in 2016), and the musi­cal Lazarus, which was inspired by the char­ac­ter he played in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Dis­pelling the sim­plis­tic view that his career was sim­ply pred­i­cat­ed on change, the film includes reveal­ing inter­views with many of Bowie’s clos­est cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tors, includ­ing: Tony Vis­con­ti, Bowie’s long-time pro­duc­er; musi­cians who con­tributed to The Next Day and Black­star; Jonathan Barn­brook, the graph­ic design­er of both albums; Robert Fox, pro­duc­er of Lazarus, along with cast mem­bers from the show, pro­vid­ing a unique behind-the-scenes look at Bowie’s cre­ative process; and Johan Renck, direc­tor of Bowie’s final music video, “Lazarus,” which was wide­ly dis­cussed as fore­shad­ow­ing his death.

You can watch a trail­er for the new film up above.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pro­duc­er Tony Vis­con­ti Breaks Down the Mak­ing of David Bowie’s Clas­sic “Heroes,” Track by Track

The David Bowie Book Club Gets Launched by His Son: Read One of Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books Every Month

David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

David Bowie Urges Kids to READ in a 1987 Poster Spon­sored by the Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion

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