The filmmaker of a most recent commended documentary based on the words and music of David Bowie expresses his gratitude for the singer for “teaching him how to live” after he underwent a heart attack in his late forties.
Brett Morgan, director of Moonage Daydream – a more than 2-hour film without narration yet packed with Bowie’s interviews, deliberation on art, and his performances – states 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, who also created the 2015 movie Cobain: Montage of Heck, about the life and death of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, released the new movie this week at the Cannes Film Festival – and grooved 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 also features the singer’s artistic interests in sculpture, theater, film and painting and his journey in East Asia. In addition, it focuses on his life in Berlin in East Germany in the 1970s, stating that he wanted to make himself “uncomfortable.”
“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.”