Photo: BBC

The director of a recently commended documentary based on the words and music of David Bowie expresses his gratitude for the singer for teaching him how to live after undergoing a heart attack in his late forties. 

Brett Morgan, director of Moonage Daydream – a film that spans more than two hours and features interviews with Bowie as well as his performances – says that his own life was “out of control” when he started venturing on the film in January 2017, nearly a year following the British musician’s death. 

“One of the greatest legacies anyone can have is to continue to inspire when we’re no longer here, and David does exactly that,” Morgen said in an interview with BBC. 

“David Bowie changed my life. I first came to him as I became a teenager, and his impact was tremendous. Then, just as I started working on this film, I suffered a massive heart attack. I flatlined for three minutes and was in a coma.

“My life was out of control, and I was entirely work-obsessed. I put all my ego into my work, and I’m the father of three kids. When you have an experience like that, you think, what’s been the message of my life? Work hard and die in your 40s…” 

He further says, “I needed to learn how to live again, and that’s when David Bowie really came back into my life at the age of 47.” 

Morgen, the person who made the 2015 film Cobain: Montage of Heck about Kurt Cobain’s life and death in Nirvana, released the new movie this week at Cannes Film Festival – and danced on the red carpet to Bowie’s music.

Moonage Daydream is the first-ever documentary authorized by David Bowie’s estate. First, it reveals the unseen clip of Bowie, counting concert footage from Earl’s Court, London, in 1978, where thrilled fans can be seen scurrying into the arena. Then, Bowie performs Heroes on stage. 

“We were the first people to be able to access that material, and that was a true revelation,” Morgen states, further saying that he scanned through nearly five million Bowie “assets” for the five years of creating the film. 

“My personal favorite moment in the process was finding material of the 1975 Soul tour [which] I didn’t know was in existence,” he continues. “But I want to be more than the sum of its parts of the footage.” 

The documentary traces the singer’s life in East Asia and Berlin, highlighting his artistic interests. It also focuses on how he wanted to make himself “uncomfortable” while living.

“He just wanted to make the most out of every day and recognized that feeling comfortable is a falsehood,” Morgen spells out. “If it’s easy, why do it? So once Bowie mastered something, he moved on.”

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