Velvet Goldmine

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie Velvet Goldmine (1998) is a film directed and co-written by Todd Haynes. The story follows a British journalist (Christian Bale) who has to search his own past when writing an article about early-1970s rock stars for an American periodical. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Bend It Like Beckham) had his feature debut playing the role of Brian Slade, a pansexual folk minstrel-cum-glitter icon patterned after David Bowie. Ewan McGregor co-stars in the role of Curt Wild, a glam-rock performer who doesn't back down from sex, nudity or drugs on or off stage, and who many consider to be loosely based on Iggy Pop, with a dash of Lou Reed. Also featured are Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) as Slade's wife and Eddie Izzard as his manager.

The tale strongly parallels Bowie and Pop's relationship in the '70s and '80s, with parallel stages in both stories including "folk singer takes illegal substances" and "open-minded glam rocker becomes bland straight guy." Brian Slade's gradually overwhelming on-stage persona of "Maxwell Demon" and his backing band, "Venus in Furs", likewise bear a resemblance to Bowie's similar persona and backing band, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The film's plot turns Bowie's paranoia of being murdered during a concert (a paranoia that Bowie visited upon the Ziggy Stardust character in the climax of the Ziggy Stardust album) into a career-ending publicity stunt by Slade.

The title of the movie takes its name from the B-side of one of Bowie's singles, originally written as a rather adult description of him making out with another man. Social pressures combined with an only-half-hearted interest in the material had Bowie rewriting the song to be slightly more ambiguous. The film's title may also be intended as an allusion to the name of the band The Velvet Underground. Furthermore, "Maxwell Demon" was the name of Brian Eno's first band. "Venus in Furs" is a reference to a Velvet Underground song of the same name, whose title and lyrics in turn reference a novel of that name by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The musicians who played as Venus in Furs on the soundtrack were Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, Bernard Butler, and Roxy Music's Andy Mackay.

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