If you haven’t seen the ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition at the V&A yet, unfortunately it’s now too late as it closed yesterday. But there’s hope for badly organised Bowie fans. In a first for the gallery, a film of the exhibition is coming to screens tomorrow (Tuesday August 13) when 208 cinemas will host a live screening of ‘David Bowie Is Happening Now’. The event will bring the V&A show to audiences all over the country, and it’s another example of cinemas thinking outside of the box of popcorn, offering audiences films of gigs, theatre productions, operas, dance shows and art exhibitions.
So what can we expect? Co-curator of the exhibition Victoria Broackes insists that the film won’t be ‘yet another documentary’ on Bowie. Although there will be talking heads – including Paul Morley, Jarvis Cocker, Michael Clark and Jeremy Deller – there won’t be a presenter, so it shouldn’t feel like an extended version of ‘The Culture Show’ or one of those Alan Yentob BBC arts docs. To direct it, the V&A has hired Hamish Hamilton, the man behind the televising of last year’s Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies. He wants to recreate ‘the experience of being in the show,’ says Broackes, who reckons the film will be something like a ‘50/50’ mix of live and pre-recorded material. Saying that, by the night of the screening the first room of the show will already be packed up and on its way to the exhibition’s next destination – Toronto – so there will be an element of sleight-of-hand to the whole thing.
Broackes says there will also be a role in Tuesday’s film for audiences – punters should expect the camera to be turned on them at some point. ‘The idea of the audience is crucial for Bowie and the show. The film is an extension of that, and we’ll have live links to audiences in cinemas.’
What about the man himself? Did David Bowie get a chance to see the show? Officially, the answer is no. But word is (not least from a close reading of his wife Iman Abdulmajid’s Twitter feed) that Bowie had a private tour of the exhibition early on a Sunday morning last month, before the doors opened. So, you never know: keep an eye on who’s sitting next to you in the cinema next Tuesday. It could be the Thin White Duke himself. Dave Calhoun
Find out where ‘David Bowie is Happening Now is playing near you.