The Man Who Fell To Earth

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Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Exeter Phoenix

Earlier this year, David Bowie left Earth – albeit too soon. In a special screening celebrating his contribution to film (not to mention the 40th anniversary of this particular one), revisit the classic 1976 sci-fi movie where Bowie plays the leading role, an alien seeking answers on Earth. When Nicholas Roeg caught Bowie profiled in the landmark 1975 documentary Cracked Actor he realised he was looking at someone who, without any real experience in film, was perfect for the lead role — cerebral, edgy, enigmatic — a fragile alien uncomfortable in a new climate. Uncomfortable in his own skin. Bowie plays Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien whose spacecraft has landed in a New Mexico lake and has come to Earth because of a drought on his own planet; he wants to use his advanced technological gifts to ship water back home. Quickly, he sets about creating enough wealth to allow him to return to his own world. But he also meets Mary-Lou, an affectionate, simple-minded chambermaid (Candy Clark) who introduces him to the joys of sex and alcohol and marks the start of Newton’s downfall, raising the question of whether Newton will ever get to return home. Introduced by Dr Felicity Gee, Lecturer in international cinema, University of Exeter.