David Bowie Song, Indian Director Tarsem Bring Star Power to Sony Commercial (Video)
The spot for the Sony Experia Z smartphone features explosions of color from India's famous Festival of Holi against a remix of Bowie's 1977 pop hit "Sound and Vision."
After nearly a decade of laying low and catching the public ear mostly via Wes Anderson soundtracks, David Bowie is popping up everywhere lately.
The 66-year-old rock icon’s latest pop-culture contribution comes via a commercial from Indian director Tarsem Singh, Sony Electronics and advertising firm McCann London. The new TV spot for the Sony Xperia Z smartphone features Bowie’s 1977 track, “Sound and Vision” and was released online by McCann.
The video shows people using Sony products over the past 50 years -- watching the Apollo moon landing on a Sony black-and-white TV set, rollerblading with a Walkman and the like -- before ending with a couple snapping photos and videoing themselves with an Xperia phone during India’s Festival of Holi – where revelers famously fling colored dyes on each other.
Tarsem puts to use his experience as a music-video director – he's known for masterminding the video for R.E.M.'s smash hit "Losing My Religion" (1991) – and as a feature-length fantasist, where his works include Mirror Mirror (2012) and the Jenifer Lopez film The Cell (2000).
Shot on a Phantom high-speed camera, the spot uses slow-motion footage against Bowie’s vocals. (See the full commercial below.)
“Sound and Vision” was remixed for the spot by Indian electronic music artist Sonjay Prabhakar.
As Bowie’s people wrote on his Facebook page: “The remix strips the song right back to Bowie‘s original vocal, which is accompanied by a beautiful piano part, lending a completely new flavor to the 1977 ‘Low’ outtake.”
Of course, Bowie has also recently been releasing new material of his own. On Feb. 18, he launched a characteristically surreal and gender-bending music video directed by avant-gardist Floria Sigismondi and co-starring Tilda Swinton for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” the second single off his forthcoming album The Next Day (out March 12). The release will be Bowie’s first album in 10 years.
Also in February, two new feature-length film projects focused on Bowie’s life and work were announced in Europe.
The U.K.’s BBC Two is currently producing a new documentary, David Bowie - Five Years, slated for broadcast in May. Directed by Francis Whately, the film will examine five critical years in the rock star’s career, featuring previously unseen footage and interviews with collaborators. It will be accompanied by a major Bowie exhibition at London’s V&A, sharing unprecedented access to material from the David Bowie Archive.
And at last month's Berlinale, British producers Altered Image and Berlin-based Egoli Tossell Film announced plans for Lust for Life, a biopic about the legendary collaboration between Bowie and Iggy Pop in 1970s West Berlin. Gabriel Range (Death of a President) is attached to direct from a screenplay by Robin French, a writer for BBC comedy series Cuckoo. French is said to have based his screenplay on the biographies Starman: David Bowie and Open Up and Bleed: Iggy Pop from writer and former Mojo editor Paul Trynka. No word yet on who will play the rock duo.