Los Olvidados / Lazarus - video essay by Catherine Grant
I've been following Catherine Grant on Twitter for many years and always find the video essays she makes and shares insightful, alongside all the film related studies and links found on her website.
She recently made a video essay titled "Los Olvidados / Lazarus", a side by side study of Luis Buñuel's film Los Olvidados and David Bowie's Lazarus music video. It was her response to the sad news of David Bowie's death, a construction of a "makeshift shrine". It is haunting.
In Catherine Grant's own words:
This is a "make of it what you will" kind of video, one certainly produced in very sad circumstances as an immediate response, on the day itself, to the news of David Bowie's untimely passing. It was my way of beginning to process this, I guess. By constructing a makeshift shrine.
Even before the awful news arrived, on the weekend of the BLACKSTAR album's release, I was struck by how the music video LAZARUS (Bowie/Johan Renck, 2016) made me recall the dream sequence in LOS OLVIDADOS (Luis Buñuel, 1950), a film in part about the fragility of flesh, and which constantly foreshadows death as the ineluctable fate of its characters. I knew I wanted to explore this immediately. I didn't realise quite how 'immediately' I would end up doing so.
What to make of this comparison? A little, for sure, in terms of the likelihood of conscious influence: Bowie knew the Latin American cinema canon better than many other London-born cinephiles and certainly thought a great deal of Buñuel's 1950s masterpiece.
But mostly I've made this video public because it does frame an unfolding space for mourning -- for my own at least -- as well as for a sensuous reckoning of some of what we have lost with Bowie's death (and, indeed, with Buñuel's death before that) - an immense psycho-cultural, audio-visual richness, the likes of which we probably won't see or hear again. But which, thankfully, we can revisit in awe.
Here's the video.