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Audiovisual FILM STUDIES FOR FREE

Selected Videographic Essays and Criticism by Catherine Grant

LOS OLVIDADOS / LAZARUS

FOR STUDY PURPOSES ONLY

This is a "make of it what you will" kind of video, one certainly produced in very sad circumstances as an immediate response, on the day itself, to the news of David Bowie's untimely passing. It was my way of beginning to process this, I guess. By constructing a makeshift shrine.

Even before the awful news arrived, on the weekend of the BLACKSTAR album's release, I was struck by how the music video LAZARUS (Bowie/Johan Renck, 2016) made me recall the dream sequence in LOS OLVIDADOS (Luis Buñuel, 1950), a film in part about the fragility of flesh, and which constantly foreshadows death as the ineluctable fate of its characters. I knew I wanted to explore this immediately. I didn't realise quite how 'immediately' I would end up doing so.

What to make of this comparison? A little, for sure, in terms of the likelihood of conscious influence: Bowie knew the Latin American cinema canon better than many other London-born cinephiles (cinematropical.com/Cinema-Tropical/bowie-cultural-icon-and-latin-american-film-buff.html) and certainly thought a great deal of Buñuel's 1950s masterpiece (artisnotdead.blogspot.com/2007/05/bowie-loves-spanish-cinema-and-i-love.html).

But mostly I've made this video public because it does frame an unfolding space for mourning -- for my own at least -- as well as for a sensuous reckoning of some of what we have lost with Bowie's death (and, indeed, with Buñuel's death before that) - an immense psycho-cultural, audio-visual richness, the likes of which we probably won't see or hear again. But which, thankfully, we can revisit in awe.

NOTE: The sequence from LOS OLVIDADOS has been very slightly slowed to a length of three seconds longer than its original (just over 4 minutes) running time to accompany the full-length of the LAZARUS video.

THANKS to my videographic comrades, who watched this in the first month after Bowie's death, for their valuable thoughts about it. I'll write something longer about it soon, to reflect a little on their comments.