This year we’ve lost too many beloved figures in the entertainment world. Among them, the deaths of David Bowie and Prince struck the Music Division particularly hard. These two iconic performers made a lot of great records, and a lot of perhaps less-than-great movies. Many of their films have been screened in area repertory theaters, but this month we’re showing 35mm prints of films that are less often revived. Free tickets are already sold out for the series, but standbys are encouraged to line up starting at 6:30 p.m. as available seats will be released five minutes before show time. For more information, call (202) 707-5502. Learn more about the Library of Congress’ 2016-17 concert season here.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2016 at 7 PM
JUST A GIGOLO (1978) | 90 min.
Directed by David Hemmings
Bowie fans have seen The Man Who Fell to Earth and other high-profile movie appearances by the late chameleonic singer. But how many have seen his star turn as a former Prussian officer who resorts to turning tricks? David Hemmings (star of Blow-Up, which influenced the young Bowie) directed this ill-fated 1978 drama co-starring Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novak. Bowie himself dismissed this seldom-revived title as “my 32 Elvis movies contained in one.”
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016 at 7 PM
ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (1986) | 108 min.
Directed by Julien Temple
Bowie stars as an advertising executive in this stylish, candy-colored musical set in London in 1958. Director Julien Temple made his name in music videos, and the film’s musical numbers are among the most visually striking of the era. Even better is the soundtrack, including Bowie’s soaring title theme, which would become a focal point of Lazarus, the Off-Broadway musical that was one of the last works he completed before his death.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2016 at 7 PM
GRAFITTI BRIDGE (1990) | 95 min.
Directed by Prince
In this unofficial sequel to Purple Rain, Prince and Morris Day operate rival Minnesota nightclubs with competing musical philosophies. Six years after his big screen breakthrough, Prince was beginning to struggle artistically, and acknowledges as much in an opening line that he addresses to his late father: “Dear Dad: Things didn’t turn out quite like I wanted them to.” Reviews fell along the lines of the Los Angeles Times critic Michael Wilmington, who called the film, “A Bridge Too Far.”
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2016 at 7 PM
SIGN ‘O’ THE TIMES (1987) | 85 min.
Directed by Prince
We end the series with this document of the tour for one of Prince’s greatest albums, Rolling Stone recently called this his “great lost concert film.” The movie has never been available on DVD in the United States. This is a rare opportunity to see it the way it was meant to be seen, in a glorious 35mm print.