Bowie turns 63 (!) today, and as much as his music continues to resonate, his roles in film, be they bit (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Last Temptation of Christ), or starring (The Man Who Fell To Earth, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence), are no less enduring.
The “otherness” Bowie exerts as an onscreen presence, in my eyes, always seems matched by the obvious thoughtfulness he injects into his roles. And now, thanks to YouTube, we can turn to the accompanying, mostly silent, clip to see where it all started.
David Bowie plays the mysterious apparition who is haunting the artist and his unusual good looks and other-worldly appearance are used to great effect here. Bowie was just 20-years-old when he made his acting debut, but he had studied with the avant-garde performance artist and actor Lindsay Kemp who included elements of Mime and Butoh into his teaching. Bowie obviously made use of the skills he developed studying under Kemp for his role in The Image and his wordless performance as an unrelenting spectre is undoubtedly the most memorable element of this short film.
The Image was shot in just three days, but its official debut was held off for 2 years. And due to its relatively violent content, it was one of the first British features to receive an X rating.
To learn more about The Image, visit the official Michael Armstrong website