Hello, Goodbye is a collection in which we take a watch at films that feature huge name stars that only show up briefly, and are never ever seen again.

The news of David Bowie’s fatality on January 10, 2016 let loosened an outpouring of shock and also grief across the world. Bowie, an artist who appeared to transcend the restrictions of only mortality, surely would live forever, not shuffle turn off this mortal coil at the age of 69. Among the most remarkable aspects of his passing to be the proclamation from so numerous different voices (via society media) the Bowie managed to be so numerous different things to so numerous different people, every while somehow continuing to be true to himself. David Bowie was an ext than just an amazing musician and artist; he was a driving, liquid force that aided shaped the world about him. He to be iconic.

He was likewise a reasonably remarkable actor. Transparent his career, Bowie gave one remarkable performance ~ another, moving memorable turns in Labyrinth, pure Beginners, The man Who fell to Earth, The Hunger, The Prestige and more. That would’ve been easy sufficient for Bowie to display up in this films and just be Bowie — however the fact was there really wasn’t a David Bowie. “David Bowie” was a character produced by David Jones, a young man who was “shy and relatively awkward in society situations,” as Bowie claimed in a 1996 Telegraph newspaper interview. “I would usage bravado and also device,” Bowie said, “costume and also flamboyant behaviour… in a desperate effort to no be iced out of everything.” A side effect of David Jones ending up being David Bowie was that as soon as it come time to show up in films, Bowie was already something of one established, and also quite good, actor.

Bowie’s screentime in young name Scorsese’s 1988 film The last Temptation of Christ bring away up about three minutes and also thirty secs of a 162 minute film. It’s a quick footnote in a sprawling journey, yet it packs a impressive punch. Scorsese’s film, adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial 1953 novel, paints a very human portrait that Jesus. Together played by Willem Dafoe, Jesus is an angry, confused, suffering male warring v his divine nature. The film to be mired in controversy both for its less-than-sacred portrayal of Jesus and for a an extensive fantasy sequence the occupies many of the third act of the film, in i m sorry Jesus imagines gaining off the cross and also living together a man.

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Bowie appears as Pontius Pilate, the high-ranking Roman main who, the Gospels claim, condemned Jesus to dice on the cross. In the 4 Gospels of the new Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke & man — Pilate is portrayed as a little bit of a push-over. In spite of his place of power, the Pilate in the bible is subservient enough to allow his Jewish subjects an ext or less bully him right into condemning Jesus to death. Media portrayals that Pilate have followed this lead: in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Pilate is a tormented spirit who has nightmares about the role he’ll beat in Jesus’ demise. Later, when Jesus is carried to that to stand trial, Pilate begs Jesus to give him some sort of escape indigenous the whole scenario. Mel Gibson’s The passion of the Christ complies with suit, with that film’s Pilate also offering to collection Jesus complimentary and to death a well known murderer in his place instead — an alternative Pilate’s group angrily rejects, for this reason blood-thirsty they space for Jesus’ death.

History, however, reveals a less-than-noble Pontius Pilate. In his publication Zealot: The Life and also Times of Jesus that Nazareth, author Reza Aslan says that during Pilate’s “tenure in Jerusalem he so eagerly, and without trial, sent thousands upon countless Jews to the cross the the world of Jerusalem feel obliged to lodge a formal complaint with the roman inn emperor.” Aslan likewise claims that Pilate “was famous for sending his troops ~ above the roadways of Jerusalem to slaughter Jews whenever they disagreed with even the little of his decisions.”

Scorsese’s film, i m sorry is filled with spirituality but additionally concerned through historical facets (despite special a mainly white cast, that course), has no attention in the benevolent, tortured, mythical Pilate. The likelihood the Jesus would also have stand trial before his execution is slim, and also Scorsese compromises by to reduce the meeting in between Pilate and Jesus together a short, nearly droll interrogation. After his arrest because that sedition versus Rome, Jesus is not brought to some large outdoor arena to was standing trial — instead, Scorsese has Dafoe’s Jesus carried to Pilate’s stables. Introduced in a broad shot, Jesus sits bound ~ above a bench if Bowie, together Pilate, inspects a horse. Shafts the bluish light streak under from lofty ceilings together torches placed to the stone walls flicker. In his casting of the film, Scorsese obtained a an approach from wilhelm Wyler’s biblical epos Ben-Hur, where all the Jewish characters have American accents while all the Romans speak in british accents. It has the effect of both distinguishing the characters and establishing a class system — the lower class, boorish American-accented Jews, some of which sound like they’re native Brooklyn, versus the top class, eloquent, proper-speaking, British-sounding Romans. In his commentary because that the criterion release, Scorsese discover he want Pilate to it is in “young, imperious and also have charisma,” i m sorry Bowie has actually in spades here.

The amazing thing about Bowie’s performance is the for a performer who was well-known for advertise boundaries and embracing his freakier side, Bowie’s performance as Pilate is very down come earth. His Pilate is weary, due to the fact that he’s seen hundreds, maybe also thousands, of people like Jesus before. When he asks Jesus to perform some type of miracle, or trick, come prove his divinity, Jesus replies, “I’m no a trained animal and I’m no a magician.” Swathed in a brown animal leather toga, his hand clasped together in former of him, Bowie’s Pilate replies, “That’s disappointing. That means you’re just another Jewish politician.” Pilate presses Jesus more for some kind of explanation, and also Jesus spins the a tale around a vision of the prophet Daniel about a statue through clay feet. “A rock was thrown, the clay feet broke, and also the statue collapsed,” Jesus says, a glimmer of pride in his voice. “Yes?” Pilate asks, sounding together if he’s barely paying attention. God threw the stone, Jesus explains, and also the stone itself represents Jesus. “The statue–,” Jesus starts to say prior to Pilate cuts him off, “–is Rome.” Bowie stays perfectly still while Jesus speak his parable, yet the minute Pilate finishes Jesus’ story because that him, he starts to move — crossing towards the sit Dafoe, looming over him and always keeping his hand clasped together. At some point Pilate loosens up a bit, and also takes a seat alongside Jesus. Scorsese keeps his camera behind the 2 men, a tool shot ~ above both of your backs prior to moving closer for over-the-shoulder shots because that the remainder of the exchange. “Change will happen with love, not through killing,” Jesus tells Pilate. “Either way, the dangerous,” Pilate replies, walk on to proclaim, “It just doesn’t matter how you want to readjust things — us don’t want them changed.”

There’s no mocking in Bowie’s ton here, nor anger. Yet there no sympathy either. Instead, Bowie plays the man as both blasé and slightly mystified at Jesus’ predicament. He’s helpful in his death sentence: “You do know what needs to happen, don’t you?” that condemns Jesus to be crucified in ~ Golgotha — a place of execution the is now home to 3000 skulls, “probably more.” The only time Bowie’s Pilate mirrors a tinge of emotion is right prior to his exit, from both the scene and also the film. “I execute wish you civilization would walk up there and also count lock (the skulls) sometime,” Pilate speak Jesus, stressing the word count for impact. “You can learn a lesson…” but so lackadaisical and practical is Bowie’s Pilate that mere secs after almost raising his voice, he just turns and also mutters, “…probably not…” before vanishing from the film.

On the default commentary, Scorsese mentions that as soon as The last Temptation of Christ was in early advancement back in 1983, musician Sting to be originally cast as Pilate. As soon as it come time to movie in 1988 Sting was not available, however, Bowie was cast. Nothing versus Sting, but thank heavens things cleared up the means they did.


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Bowie’s portrayal is so layered and memorable that the believed of anyone else in the role might seem favor blasphemy. Below is a component that to be even described by the film’s director as a “throwaway,” and yet Bowie — that only operated on the film for 3 days complete — renders the brief appearance into something only David Bowie could: iconic.