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Wednesday, November 25 by IFC Films. Johnny Flynn, who also made an impression in Emma earlier this year, is


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eerily evocative as young Bowie. He nails the late performer’s appearance, voice and mannerisms. Knowing how the Academy loves actors who play musical icons (see Renee Zellweger, who won last year for Judy, and Rami Malek’s win as Freddie Mercury the previous year, among many others), Flynn could be a contender for Best Actor. Stardust opens with Bowie's arrival in the United States for the first time, in 1971. Although Bowie was popular in Europe, he wasn’t yet a name here due to his music being, as described by his manager in the film, “too dark, too weird for the Yanks.” He is surprised to discover upon his arrival that his manager failed to arrange the proper visa for him. What Bowie thought was going to be a national singing tour turned out to be a series of radio interviews in largely rural areas, which proved less than welcoming.


nother new queer release set in the early 1970s is Stardust, a biopic about singer David Bowie’s challenging transformation into his androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. It will also be released on


Bowie was known early on for his gender fluidity in how he dressed, and he came out as bisexual to Playboy magazine in 1976. While Stardust doesn't delve into his sexuality much apart from his open marriage at the time to Angie Barnett (played by Jena Malone), he does decry "bourgeois morality" and is shown as being anything but conventional. Costume designer Julia Patkos does a fabulous job in this regard, re-creating Bowie's outfits and the general fashions of the time. According to the film, several of Bowie’s family members suffered from


schizophrenia, including his older brother. Bowie is depicted as terrified of being diagnosed as schizophrenic himself. This fear is what ultimately drove him to develop his Ziggy Stardust persona, who Bowie could separate from himself. The move paid off, making Bowie famous nationally and internationally. It also led to him becoming an impressive actor in movies and theatre. Stardust provides considerable insight into Bowie, who died much too soon in 2016. His fans, general music fans, bisexual men and queer viewers will find much to appreciate in the film.


November 2020 | @theragemonthly 17


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